The WGA Strike

In 2019, the last “normal” year, new scripted television series for ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox began debuting on September 23, 2019. This year “normal” will not happen because of the ongoing strike of the Writers Guild of America.

The WGA has a lengthy history—it’s 90 years old, going back to the early days of talkies. A summary history of WGA strikes since 1960 would be:

Dates Length (days) Outcome
Started May 2 142 Ongoing
2007-2008 100 Higher residuals;more unscripted shows
1988 154 Residuals for shows sold to foreign markets
1981 96 Increased base pay; share of revenues from home video and cable markets
1973 111 Salary hikes; residuals for cassettes and cable
1960 163 Salary hikes; residuals on post-1960 films;health, pension, and welfare benefits


Recently, rather than relying on negotiators CEOs of Disney, Netflix, etc. have been meeting with union representatives.

While I think it’s likely that higher pay will result from the strike it’s hard for me to see how the union’s demands for residuals from streaming can be met. That segment simply doesn’t work that way. There will be no fall television season. If the strike goes on for another couple of months, which based on history it might, there won’t be January midseason, either.

2 comments… add one
  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    Looking at history, the strike should be close to ending. If it extends even another month, it’ll be the longest strike in 60 years…

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    History was right, with the provisional agreement, the strike will end at about 148-150 days.

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