May 3, 2023 - News

Hollywood strike threatens Georgia's film and TV biz

a movie theater marquee with three raised fists on it

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

The Writers Guild of America is on strike — and depending on how long it lasts, the work stoppage could have ripple effects on one of Georgia's biggest industries.

Why it matters: Film and TV productions in Georgia started pulling back when a strike — the WGA's first in 15 years — became possible. Roughly 35 projects are in production, the AJC reports, and the number could plummet in the weeks and months ahead.

By the numbers: Georgia's film and TV production industry employs thousands of workers and generates billions of dollars in economic impact, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Details: During the strike, the WGA's 11,500 members won't carry out any writing duties, though they may perform other duties like producing or directing.

  • Late-night and daytime television shows like soap operas have gone dark. "The Daily Show" and "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" are also on hiatus.
  • Streaming services and film studios are less affected initially because they produce their content well in advance.
  • Given the time of the year, most broadcast shows will be in-between seasons. But a strike going deep into the summer would lead to delays for the 2023-24 season.

The big picture: The streaming era has upended traditional Hollywood business practices, and writers feel they've been left out of the "peak TV" content boom.

  • Streaming services that have dominated the TV landscape order fewer episodes per season and pay out far less in residuals than what writers would get from TV syndication deals.
  • The rapid growth of AI is causing concern among writers that studios will look to replace some of their work with machines.

The other side: The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major studios and production companies, argued that its latest proposal included "generous increases in compensation" and increases in streaming residuals.

Flashback: The last WGA strike came in 2007-08 and lasted for 100 days.

What's next: The studios' labor contracts with the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and SAG-AFTRA, which represents the actors, both expire at the end of June.

  • Both the DGA and SAG-AFTRA have voiced support for the WGA, but will continue working during the WGA strike.
  • The AMPTP said it remains open to negotiate but the sides haven't set a timeline to hold those talks.

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