Union negotiators representing TV and film actors have reached an agreement with the studios on a new contract, effectively ending a strike that began in July.
Before it becomes official, the entire membership must vote to approve it. However, with the Writers Guild of America’s four-month strike ending in September, the picket lines have been lifted, allowing everyone to return to work, including crew, who were also laid off during the two strikes. What will happen now?
Broadcast network sitcoms and dramas will be ramping up quickly in order to have new episodes ready to go after the new year. According to a report from Deadline.com: “Just minutes after the end of the strike was announced, casts and crews started receiving notifications for tentative start dates in late November and early December.”
A half-season usually consists of 13 episodes. But Deadline is also reporting that “Wolf Entertainment crime procedurals (which include the One Chicago shows on NBC such as “Chicago Fire”) were aiming at doing more than 13, with 15 (episodes) a number circulated, and ABC and Warner Bros. TV were in a tussle over ‘Abbott Elementary,’ with ABC asking for 13 and the studio pushing for 17.”
There may be less of a rush to watch streaming shows. Or not. With most shows on hold for the last six months, there will be pressure to get them up and running so that there is a steady supply of premieres throughout 2024. When the strikes began, many shows, including Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” were forced to halt production on their new seasons.
In terms of the summer movie schedule, the prolonged work stoppage has caused real concern among studio executives and movie theater owners. It’s too soon to tell which titles will be finished on time, but there are reasons to be optimistic. “Deadpool 3,” starring Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman, was in the middle of production when it was shut down. Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice” sequel and Clint Eastwood’s “Juror No. 2” are both nearing completion.
During the strike, actors were not permitted to give interviews about any past, present, or future projects. I’m sure their personal publicists, as well as studio and network publicists, are relieved that the stars can now resume selling. Especially now that Oscar season is upon us. (Woe to all the authors who had been filling those morning show interview slots. TV should continue to highlight writers!)
Upcoming contract issues
The actors’, writers’, and directors’ guilds have signed new contracts with the studios, but the latter will have to compete with other areas of the industry sooner rather than later.
Marvel VFX artists voted to unionize in September. The reality TV cast and crew are increasingly interested in unionizing. And the studios’ contracts with the Animation Guild and IATSE, the union that represents the majority of crew members, are set to expire next year.