After the negotiations between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) fell apart at the start of the month, WGA is on a strike with the writers getting support from various celebrities and other guilds on the picket line. As Hollywood comes to an abrupt halt, most shows and series are facing setbacks and delays in production. While some companies like Netflix and AMC are on the safe side with their content slate, others are trying to get back their showrunners, as per a new report in Deadline.
HBO has asked its showrunners to return to work and indulge in non-writing duties. For the uninitiated, showrunners have primary creative control over TV shows while they aren’t always necessarily the creators, they’re almost always the writer of the material hence their opinions matter on a variety of facets ranging from casting to narratives. “If you are a WGA member, HBO/HBO Max respects your membership in the WGA, and we will not do anything to place you in jeopardy of WGA rules,” reads a May 2 letter from the Warner Bros Discovery-owned division to its showrunners and executive producers.
The letter notes that the studio believes “certain services such as participating in the casting process and/or contributing to non-writing production, and post-production work are clear examples of non-WGA required services that should continue to be rendered during this time.” It notes that under the National Labor Relations Act, “the WGA is not permitted to interfere with an employer’s right to designate employees to perform certain supervisory functions.” The correspondence which lays out the dos and dont’s, added in FAQ section that if the employees “fail to provide contracted services due to the strike, HBO/HBO Max will not be obliged to continue your salary.” Adding
“Further, if production is interrupted by the strike, even if you offer to continue to work, HBO/HBO Max will not be obliged to continue your salary, nor the salary of the cast and crew.”
Some Studios Are Still an Exception
HBO isn’t the only one the House of Mouse too wants its showrunners back and has sent an email to its employees of similar nature. “Everyone but Netflix has sent one it seems,” an insider told Deadline. Watch out for this space for further developments.