WGA to Studios: ‘All FYC Production Is Suspended’ Due to Strike
As the ripple effects of the writers’ strike play out across Hollywood, the Writers Guild of America has notified studios that it will not be running FYC ads for the upcoming Emmy season on its website or in email communications to members, two insiders have told TheWrap.
“After deliberation with our legal department, all FYC production is now suspended,” read an email from the guild to studio awards teams obtained by TheWrap. “We understand that this may be frustrating and that you have media already planned, but due to the strike rules, we cannot continue.”
The guild is offering studios who have already bought ad space the choice between a full refund or credit towards future “for your consideration” ads after the strike concludes.
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After several weeks of negotiations that began on March 20, the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers failed to reach an agreement on a new bargaining agreement, breaking talks this past Monday. Thousands of WGA members, with the support of members of other Hollywood unions, have formed picket lines at studios and production offices in Los Angeles and New York, halting production on late-night comedy shows as well as major shows like “Stranger Things” and “Abbott Elementary.”
The strike has also affected events happening around Hollywood such as the MTV Movie and TV Awards, which will air on Sunday as a pre-taped, clip-based broadcast after the WGA announced that they would be picketing the event at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica and Drew Barrymore announced that she would no longer host the show in solidarity.
The WGA has also held membership meetings in Los Angeles and New York in the past week to prepare future actions, including a public rally that will be held on May 15 with the support of other Hollywood unions. Kay Cannon, creator of the “Pitch Perfect” film trilogy and member of the WGA negotiating committee, told TheWrap that the L.A. meeting held at the Shrine Auditorium was “one of the most emotional, amazing experiences of a united front that I’ve ever been a part of.”
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This weekend, guild leadership held a meeting for showrunners in Beverly Hills urging them to reject demands from multiple studios to return to work on their TV series in a producer capacity, saying such work is in violation of the guild’s strike rules despite claims to the contrary from studios.
“Under the National Labor Relations Act, the WGA is not permitted to interfere with an employer’s right to designate employees to perform certain supervisory functions. If you fail to provide contracted services due to the strike, HBO/HBO Max will not be obliged to continue your salary,” read an email from HBO.
Along with higher compensation for streaming shows, the WGA is looking to codify the structure of the writers room with minimum staffing and duration of employment requirements, proposals done in response to the proliferation of mini-rooms, which WGA members say put pressure on writers to produce more scripts before a series is even greenlit for less pay and without allowing them to have the experience of working on a show during production.
The AMPTP rejected these proposals without a counteroffer, saying that its member studios ” don’t agree with applying a one-size-fits-all solution to shows that are unique and different in their approach to creative staffing.”
“If writing needs to be done, writers are hired, but these proposals require the employment of writers whether they’re needed for the creative process or not,” the AMPTP said on Thursday. “While the WGA has argued that the proposal is necessary to ‘preserv[e] the writers’ room,’ it is in reality a hiring quota that is incompatible with the creative nature of our industry.”
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