The Writer’s Guild of America is the union that represents television and movie writers. The members of the WGA have authorized a strike at the end of the month meaning that there would be no more writers writing Chuck (what a bad episode last night was), Heroes, or Lost. The big issue is that residual money earned off of broadcast on cell phones and the Internet is not being paid to writers. According to the WGA, residual income makes up 20 to 50 percent of a screenwriter’s income.
The New York Times says that the immediate impact would be on daily shows like Letterman, Leno, the Daily Show, and soap operas. Movie productions would be delayed. Animated shows like The Simpsons are produced up to a year in advance and would not likely be affected by a strike but shows like Lost would be since the network runs those without repeats. The Time reports that the next season of “Lost” is only half finished.
Ultimately, reality tv which does not rely on scripted performances and union writers will be able to forge ahead with no downtime. I’ll probably spend the spring reading more.