Planned Writers Guild Strike Could Force Late Night TV Off Air

Potential strike action from the Writers Guild of America could pull a range of late-night shows off TV in May, amid a dispute over contractual pay with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

“In the event that we are unable to negotiate a new contract with the AMPTP, a work stoppage will begin May 2,” reads a letter from the Guild sent to advertisers this week and obtained by The Wrap. “Should this occur, writing for television, feature films and digital series will cease.”

Affected shows would include The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Saturday Night Live, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

The letter also claimed that the strike could impact shows beyond the time they are taken off the air, warning that “a work stoppage in May could significantly affect the fall television season.”

The possible strike coincides with the expiration of the Guild’s current contract on May 1st, with the union demanding an extra $178 million a year, mainly funded by the major television networks.

Both sides are due to reconvene next week, but if a deal cannot be reached, a strike authorization vote will take place April 19th, and is likely to pass. Contingency plans are currently being put in place.

The last strike taken by the Writer’s Guild was in 2007, lasting roughly 100 days, with a report from the UCLA Anderson School of Management estimating it cost the industry $380 million and led to a loss of about 25 percent of scripted series programming.

In an era of so-called “peak TV” — with more than 450 scripted television shows currently on the air — a writer’s strike could wind up culling even more shows.

 

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