Disney Won’t Give a Figure for the Cost of the Writers’ Strike Yet

Disney won’t give a figure for the cost of the ongoing WGA strike yet, noting that the “new development” has not yet been quantified by the company.

“We have not estimated that because that’s a new development and we haven’t really quantified what that is, because we don’t know how long it’s gonna last,” CFO Christine M. McCarthy said of the WGA strike during Wednesday’s earnings call. Without the estimate, earnings guidance for the rest of the fiscal year, as expanded on during Wednesday’s call, do not include the expected impact of the strike.

The strike has already shut down production on several Disney projects, including Disney+’s “Blade,” which shut down its pre-production, Disney Channel’s “Bunk’d,” which paused its production, and ABC’s “Abbott Elementary,” which went dark after its writers’ room was set to reconvene for Season 3 pre-production in May.

Almost all late night shows have shut down, with ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” going on hiatus and playing repeats during its nightly time slot. On Tuesday, Freeform’s “Good Trouble,” which is currently in its fifth season, halted production while shooting on location in Agua Dulce for the day as a result of WGA picketing.

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With WGA members unable to work, Disney is also among the studios aiming to enforce contracts for showrunners and producers to act in non-writing obligations, with Disney-owned ABC Signature’s legal department sending a letter to striking writer-producers informing them they must perform non-writing duties as per their contractual obligations.

“We want specifically to reiterate to you as a showrunner or other writer-producer that you are not excused from performing your duties as a showrunner and/or producer on your series as a result of the WGA strike. Your personal services agreement with [the] Studio requires that you perform your showrunner and/or producing duties even if the WGA attempts to fine you for performing such services during the strike,” assistant chief counsel for the Disney-owned ABC Signature Bob McPhail wrote in a letter sent to showrunners.

Currently on its seventh day, the WGA strike commenced Tuesday, May 2 after the WGA and the AMPTP failed to agree to a new contract by their midnight deadline on May 1. Disney is among the several Hollywood studio locations at which WGA members and supporters have been picketing since last Tuesday.

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