Negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have been put on hold until next week, as the May 1 deadline for strike action quickly approaches.
The contract dispute, which centers around screenwriters’ compensation packages and health care plans, has been running since March, with any significant progress yet to be made.
It is now the second time that negotiations between both parties have broken down, after both sides walked away in late March when the guild claimed that producers heavily resisted their demands.
According to the Los Angeles Times, both sides will reconvene April 25th, providing just four business days to hammer out a final deal. The abrupt pause in negotiations suggests the two sides may still be very far apart.
A strike authorization vote is set to begin Tuesday and resume until April 24, just before negotiations resume. Should the union vote to strike, a range of TV shows could be pulled off the air, including 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.
According to Vanity Fair, producers and studios are scrambling to stock up on scripts and complete rewrites before the deadline.
“I have all these scripts stacked up, ready to go,” Netflix’s Dear White People producer Stephanie Allain told Vanity Fair of her plan to ride out the storm in the event of a strike. “The winners are going to be the people whose scripts are ready.”
The last strike undertaken by the Writer’s Guild was in 2007 and lasted 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.