Late Night Shows Put on Hold Due to Writers Strike!!

The first casualty of the WGA writers’ strike is in, and as expected, it’s the late night lineup across all the networks that are the first to fall. ABC, CBS and NBC have confirmed that Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers are going on immediate hiatus, which will last an undetermined number of weeks.

HBO have also confirmed they will immediately cease live production of This Week Tonight and Real Time with Bill Maher, while Comedy Central‘s The Daily Show‘s position is currently unknown, as is also the case with NBC‘s Saturday Night Live. That said, it would be a seismic shock were these shows also not placed on hiatus, given the nature of their productions. SNL may be significantly disrupted, given they intended to kick off a new season this coming weekend, while at The Daily Show, plans were in place for a variety of guest hosts to take the chair as part of a plan to do what could be classified as “on air auditions” to find a replacement for the previous incumbent, Trevor Noah.

In place of these shows, the networks plan to air repeats and “Best of” compilation shows, while the Writers’ Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers thrash out a new, fairer and more equitable agreement for the writing staff on these shows. During the previous strike in 2008, the late night shows were an indicator of progress and feeling towards the writers. In solidarity, the hosts – including Kimmel, who is now a veteran of these matters – stayed off-air for over two months. David Letterman managed to bring his show back to air by negotiating his own deal with the WGA to allow his writers more money and to get back on air, while Jay Leno returned to The Tonight Show without writers, writing his own monologues and flying by on a wing and a prayer.

Why are the Writers Striking?

The WGA is arguing that the writers are not seeing their fair of residual payments as a result of streaming platforms. If a TV show is broadcast on regular television and streaming, the latter is paid for in significantly smaller amounts. For streamers, writers are paid a flat fee regardless of success but broadcast television uses a “reward-for-success” model that means if a show is a hit, writers can earn more in residuals.

Streaming services are also dropping older shows from their back catalogue, meaning writers can no longer earn money from them, and they are ordering shorter seasons – in network television’s heyday, the likes of Friends, ER, Seinfeld, 24, Lost and more would see 24-episode orders per season. Now, it’s more common to see a maximum of 13-episode orders, with most major shows around 8-to-10 episodes. The WGA is also campaigning for a higher salary floor and for regulation on the use of artificial intelligence in scriptwriting, asking the AMPTP for a guarantee that it won’t be “used as source material”.


via Collider

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