The Post Writers’ Strike Entertainment Boom

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike put a halt in television and film production for five months, resulting in delayed releases, production shutdowns, paused work and canceled episodes. In late September 2023, a contract agreement with Hollywood studios was approved by union board members and signed by writers.

The WGA strike largely affected the film industry. According to the Associated Press, “It was a pivotal moment in Hollywood as writers’ creative labor disputed against executives in a business transformed by technology to the emergence of artificial intelligence in the years to come.”

Many television shows’ release dates were postponed due to the strike. For example, “American Horror Story” on FX, “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC and “Stranger Things” on Netflix were paused and then continued work after the strike.

“Stranger Things” is one of sophomore Angelo Salotto’s favorite television shows. The production of season five was paused and the release date of the season was pushed back.

“I’m pretty upset that the fifth season isn’t coming out until next year,” Salotto said. “I was looking forward to seeing what happens next in the show and now I have to wait even longer.”

Some movies were forced to suspend production and eventually delayed their release date. “Deadpool 3” was originally set to be released on May 3, 2023. However, the movie will now be released on July 26, 2024. The release date of “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” has been moved from Dec. 20, 2023 to March 29, 2024.

Prof. Roger S. H. Schulman, of the film and television graduate program at Sacred Heart University, feels the strike had a powerful impact on the industry with postponing all productions.

“Studios, streamers and production companies retrenched left and right. Green lights turned suddenly to red,” Schulman said. “The buzz I constantly hear nowadays is that the flood of content must be slowed to a trickle, or even reversed.”

Late-night talk shows, such as “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Saturday Night Live” on NBC and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on CBS had many canceled episodes as well.

Schulman is a fan of Stephen Colbert. “I really had to adjust to get used to not having his and his writers’ brilliance to shape my understanding of the country, and make me laugh,” Schulman said. “When he came back, I could tell that he missed me too. Either that, or he has no idea I exist.”

Prof. James ‘Todd’ Barnes works for the film and television master’s program (FTMA) at Sacred Heart, as well as a filmmaker.

“At FTMA, the graduate film school here at Sacred Heart, we talk about industry regularly,” said Barnes. “Work stoppages like this can create more job opportunities for our students.”

As a result of the strike, writers got the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI). They will no longer be competing with AI- generated stories for their screen credit, but it is unknown if this will repeat itself.

“I’m hopeful that it will lead to more sustainable work for writers,” said Barnes. “It was probably necessary, but we will have to see if it worked in the long run.”

“The courage and persistence of the WGA resulted in several breakthrough accomplishments,” said Schulman. “To me, the most remarkable is the recognition of artificial intelligence as something that urgently needs to be taken seriously, accepted as a valuable tool, and regulated to avoid abuse.”

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