Studios want to bleed out the writers’ strike, but they’re terrified of a SAG strike

The WGA strike is still happening in Hollywood, and other unions are refusing to cross the picket line. It’s likely that a SAG-Aftra strike will happen in the next few days. It’s also looking like the Emmy Awards will be postponed, especially if the actors go on strike and the writers are still on strike in September. Speaking of, the studios and the streamers are trying to drag out the writers’ strike until all of the writers go broke.

Regardless of whether SAG-AFTRA goes on strike this week, the studios have no intention of sitting down with the Writers Guild for several more months.

“I think we’re in for a long strike, and they’re going to let it bleed out,” said one industry veteran intimate with the POV of studio CEOs. With the scribes’ strike now finishing its 71st day and the actors’ union just 30 hours from a possible labor action of its own, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are planning to dig in hard this fall before even entertaining the idea of more talks with the WGA, I’ve learned. “Not Halloween precisely, but late October, for sure, is the intention,” says a top-tier producer close to the Carol Lombardini-run AMPTP.

While some dismiss this as just “cynical strike talk,” studio and streamer sources around town confirm the strategy. They also confirm that the plan to grind down the guild has long been in the works for a labor cycle that all sides agree is a game-changer one way or another for Hollywood.

“It’s been agreed to for months, even before the WGA went out,” one executive said. “Nobody wanted a strike, but everybody knew this was make or break.”

Receiving positive feedback from Wall Street since the WGA went on strike May 2, Warner Bros Discovery, Apple, Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Paramount and others have become determined to “break the WGA,” as one studio exec blatantly put it. To do so, the studios and the AMPTP believe that by October most writers will be running out of money after five months on the picket lines and no work.

“The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses,” a studio executive told Deadline. Acknowledging the cold-as-ice approach, several other sources reiterated the statement. One insider called it “a cruel but necessary evil.”

The studios and streamers’ next think financially strapped writers would go to WGA leadership and demand they restart talks before what could be a very cold Christmas. In that context, the studios and streamers feel they would be in a position to dictate most of the terms of any possible deal.

[From Deadline]

This drag-out-the-strike approach is not just “cold as ice,” it’s stupid as hell. The writers are not asking for anything crazy, they’re not demanding seven-figure paychecks or top billing. They’re asking to be paid fairly for their work and for better working conditions – the studios and streamers broke the system and systematically devalued and marginalized writers. The WGA has even publicly offered to come to the negotiation table, but AMPTP has shrugged… because the streamers are just buying foreign content and studios are just shuttering projects, so they’re “saving money.” The studios and streamers are the ones without any longterm plans.

Meanwhile, the thing that really scares the studios is a SAG-Aftra strike alongside all of the other guilds and unions striking in solidarity. The SAG strike is looming, which is why AMPTP requested federal mediation to come in and take their side. SAG “agreed to the AMPTP’s last-minute request for federal mediation and has reaffirmed the negotiating committee’s dedication to securing a fair deal by the expiration of the extended contract at 11:59 p.m. PT on Wednesday, July 12.” SAG’s statement also pointed out that AMPTP is leaking like a sieve, especially given this Variety exclusive on AMPTP’s request to bring in the feds.

Photos courtesy of Cover Images.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

41 Responses to “Studios want to bleed out the writers’ strike, but they’re terrified of a SAG strike”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Jais says:

    What incredible assholes. All my support goes out to the writers.

    • Startup Spouse says:

      What can we as consumers do to help the WGA? Organize a campaign to cancel our streaming and boycott the movies until this is resolved? Feels like someone with more social media followers than me could get this done.

    • Becks says:

      Thanks for this- I am married to a writer and this strike has been so stressful. We are out picketing almost every day, but the writers need the support from the other unions as well.

    • Truthiness says:

      The entertainment industry is nothing, zero, zilch, without writers.

      Unfortunate side effect: we don’t have Colbert, Seth Meyer’s Closer Look, or Kimmel to mock the political outrages we are going through. Sometimes changes can happen when something becomes a laughingstock across the country or when a funny person gets so outraged (Jon Stewart) that they hone in on one particular wrong to fix. I’m sure Conservatives love that they’re not being skewered daily by the late night shows.

      • Allison says:

        i’ve thought about that too. Without those guys, idiots will rely on Daily Wire for entertainment. yikes.

    • jh says:

      I stand with the writers. It is important to also note this is affecting all below the line unions and guilds members. Electricians, Grips, Props, Locations, Hair & make up, wardrobe etc. We in the industry are also currently not working during this strike. We have been trying for years during contract negotiations to get a fair, livable wage and decent working conditions, especially a reduction in 16 hour daily work days.

  2. SKE says:

    This isn’t just short-sighted, it’s incredibly poor management. Going forward, even if the strike gets resolved,everyone who works for these studios will know that their bosses have nothing but contempt for the work that they do and would rather see them starve than treat them like humans worthy of respect. The public is largely ignorant of this right now, but the longer it goes on, the more risk they run of having their public reputations tarnished. It’s almost like the cruelty is the point.

    • Jais says:

      Very true but I’m not sure the bosses care about their reps right now, which is short-sighted. And it’s not almost like…the cruelty is absolutely the point.

    • Jennifer says:

      As a member of the general public, I was certainly aware that they have nothing but contempt. i don’t think they care about their reputation, they can do whatever they want with impunity.

  3. ML says:

    Can we also name the people who blur and or cross picket lines? Like Kim K, Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Murphy, Fran Drescher, Ken Jennings, etc?
    Unions are one of the most successful equalizers of inequality. The writers and crew deserve to earn a living from their work, instead certain people at the top make most of the money and these people are forced to take on inhumane working conditions. This is a form of financial abuse.

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      Fran Drescher doesn’t honor the WGA picket lines? She’s the president of SAG! Wtf?!

      • ML says:

        Fran Drescher was snapped in Italy with Kim Kardashian., blurring the lines. As president, you would expect her to be focused on the strike and avoid scabs.

      • Snuffles says:

        It may be bad optics but Fran didn’t cross a picket line.

      • ML says:

        Snuffles, Fran is repping about 160,000 members and she’s rich. Most of the people she’s repping are far less so with less power. One of the main sticking points is how much money the streamers are making—they refuse to share that info. A Scarlet Johansson can go up against that, but most people can’t. D&G threw a five-day party and it’s a terrible look to attend this while you’re working on 160,000 members’ future. And get snapped with Kim K who broke the picket line. See Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s tweet.
        Coco, great catch on Jennifer Garner! I can’t find anything on her filming, only that she will be. I wonder if she is.

      • Mika says:

        Fran Drescher got support from SAG to attend the event in Italy, which was a fashion event and not related to acting and even if it was — they aren’t on strike yet. While it might have been a very bad look but so is tearing each other down for an Instagram post when the AMPTP is working to make writers homeless.

        They want us to fight each other. Remember who the real enemy is.

    • Lgtrent says:

      What have they done to cross or blur the picket lines? Fran Drescher? She has been on the WGA picket lines…can you elaborate?

      • ML says:

        Kim K: American Horror Story
        Ryan Reynolds is continuing to work on Deadpool 3 (though he’s not supposed to be improvising)
        Ken Jennings: Jeopardy!
        Ryan Murphy: American Horror Story, American Horror Stories, and American Sports Story

      • Coco says:

        I wonder about Jennifer Garner she going to be in Deadpool 3 if they are currently filming then wouldn’t she have to cross the WGA picket lines to do so?

      • Jais says:

        So I think if a script was completed before the strike, then it could go into production if it adhered strictly to the script. Normally, there would be some script changes though throughout the production and writers would still be used. That cannot be done now. So it’s a grey area. If it was found out that production or actors were rewriting parts of the script during production that would be an issue and going against the strike. At least that’s my understanding.

      • Marietta2381 says:

        @ Jais – the rules are very clear, if the person updating the script (during production) never wants anything to do with the WGA than they are fine to do. If they want to at some point become a WGA member, then they are banned. Per Strike rules:
        “Rules pertaining to non-members
        The Guild does not have the authority to discipline non-members for strikebreaking or scab writing. However, the Guild can and will bar that writer from future Guild membership. This policy has been strictly enforced in the past and has resulted in convincing many would be strikebreakers to refrain from harming the Guild and its members during a strike. Therefore, it is important for members to report to the Guild the name of any non-member whom you believe has performed writing services for a struck company and as much information as possible about the non-member’s services.”

      • Jennifer says:

        Not to really defend Ken Jennings, but I think I read he’s not a union member?

    • Scout says:

      Ryan Reynolds? Seriously? How incredibly disappointing. If someone really needed the job that would be one thing. Reynolds doesn’t though.

    • Dara says:

      I am definitely paying attention. It’s been heartening to see so many of my longtime faves sending support or walking picket lines. There are some I wish would speak out, but I’ll reserve judgment until SAG actually goes on strike. So far, the people who are blatantly crossing picket lines are people I already could not stand so I’m feeling pretty good about my asshole detector.

  4. poppedbubble says:

    Know what? #pausestreamers. If enough of us paused our subscriptions. Not even cancel because there is a pause option, these folks would think differently. I pause all the time for various reasons. This a good one.

    • Startup Spouse says:

      I asked this question upthread. I’m pausing too. And not buying the movies tickets for my kid this weekend. We will go to the library instead.

    • kirk says:

      I’ve never heard of pausing streamers. I’ll look for it, but I’m not sure it will make much of a difference since I’m watching old scripted stuff made in US. Think I’ll try donating at link below instead.

      Feel horrible about this because I’ve begun to realize what a difference great writing makes and have started watching for stuff that came from great writers who’ve moved into different positions like David Goyer. Hate most reality shows which was their response on the last writers’ strike. So, guess I’ll be avoiding foreign stuff now.

  5. Concern Fae says:

    I’ve been replying to everyone whining about “bad writing” AKA why the your favorite show or movie sucks, with how studios aren’t paying for a writer to be on set any more.

    Those shows you liked? Writers being paid during production to fix the problems that inevitably come up!

  6. S808 says:

    Sending so much love and support to the writers!! That comment is so disgusting but I see it as studios getting desperate. Hold your ground WGA.

  7. Marietta2381 says:

    As someone who finally after years and years of work has signed with a Literary Manager – I am a feature film writer, what the AMPTP is doing is disturbing. Thank god I have a regular job! But my heart goes out to all the writers. I think this will be ending a lot sooner than October, especially if SAG-AFTRA goes on strike.

    You can help the writers who need it the most by donating to the Entertainment Community Fund if you are able…;jsessionid=00000000.app20013a?df_id=2857&2857.donation=form1&mfc_pref=T&NONCE_TOKEN=F991A2FD89178FAF65945424FBC6FC3B

  8. MF says:

    “The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses,” a studio executive told Deadline. –> I wish I believed in hell, because these people deserve to go there.

  9. HeyKay says:

    The power madness is truly out of control.
    The studios are certainly willing to hold out as long as possible, and yes, I think they are cruel and short sighted it.
    Their will be many writers who will be losing their housing and financially destroyed.

    Why aren’t the multi-millionaire actors offering financial support?
    Shame on them all.

  10. Rose says:

    I was just on the Vanna post and now I am thinking I’m just an angry lady screaming at clouds (I accept this) but seriously, pay people fairly PLEASE. This is not hard to understand. What’s hard to understand is the blatant greed and cruelty of those withholding fair compensation. F*** them.

    • Lorelei says:

      Especially since the people making these decisions have more money than they could even spend in three lifetimes. It’s disgusting

  11. Nicegirl says:

    Why do we have to ‘endGAME’ our people tho? ‘Break the WGA’ – like, WHY? Bc of those dolla dolla bills, y’all??? What happened to teamwork? Industry folks actually WANT to cause severe harm to their coworkers, make them lose their homes, livelihoods, maybe their lives? Cuz that’s how this shiz goes fam – lose your job, your home, then maybe your mind is blown – your support systems, those you support (children, parents, charities, family), we’re talking about real people, real lives here. I do not understand this terrible ‘ME mine attack to destabilize the individual’ strategic mentality, it’s deeply saddening. I may have too much faith in humanity bc I really thought we’d be able to do better for one another, for the group – especially bc we’re talking about entertainment here, not warfare. Please, don’t assail the writers guild into submission. Do better for the benefit of everyone involved. 🖖

  12. Torttu says:

    Why is it that people who create nothing so often manage to be the best compensated? Then they call themselves “genius businessmen.” No, you just latched onto someone who actually has talent.

  13. phaedra7 says:

    The WRITERS in addition to the actors, directors, and producers, with the production/film crews, are the PEOPLE who bring the stories/narratives TO LIFE–those EXECUTIVES in their cozy offices do not! Tom Hanks and several other artists have made mentioned within a number of vids that these higher-ups/Mover And Shakers should keep mindful of this, for they would not have the jobs that they have in the entertainment industry WITHOUT the very hardworking individuals who have amused and delighted thousands-to-millions of people throughout the decades! [As always, Just. My. Observation!]