Well, folks, after decades on the air, it looks like they finally stopped making The Simpsons…
…at least in part and only for the time being, as the writers have traded scripting pithy lines for carrying picket signs. The Writers Guild of America declared a strike after arriving at an impasse with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Here are some highlights:
- Over at Jacobin, labor writer Alex Press has a good overview of the strike and the issues surrounding it.
- In the lead-up to the strike, former American Dad! writer Kirk Rudell tweeted about how 20th Television screwed them out of money when the show moved to TBS:
If you’re in the WGA, please vote yes on a strike authorization. No one wants to go on strike, but those of us who have been doing this a while have a hundred reasons why we may need to. Here’s one of mine:#WGAStrong pic.twitter.com/6BrpuUPAT9
— @firstname.lastname@example.org (@krudell) April 4, 2023
- The Animation Guild – which covers Simpsons animators – put up a Q&A on their website regarding the strike.
- Simpsons writer Rob LaZebnik wrote a Twitter thread outlining what had been achieved in previous strikes:
The WGA has never wanted to strike, but here’s what our predecessors and we achieved when we had to:
1953 — 13 weeks. First TV RESIDUALS
1960 — 22 weeks. First FEATURE RESIDUALS, independent PENSION, HEALTH INSURANCE, 4% TV residuals
— Rob LaZebnik (@Rlazebnik) May 2, 2023
- Former showrunner Josh Weinstein tweeted about how “mini-rooms” deprive newer writers from the opportunities he had.
- Deadline interviewed showrunner Al Jean on the picket line.
- Could a prolonged strike actually benefit streaming services? Financial Times:
Rich Greenfield, an analyst at LightShed, said a prolonged strike could even boost profits for the major streamers because they would not incur expenses for programming that had not been made — similar to the impact when the pandemic halted production.
This could be especially helpful for entertainment groups carrying heavy debt loads, such as Warner Bros Discovery and Paramount.
A prolonged strike “could lead to notably better than expected streaming profitability”, Greenfield said. “Multibillion-dollar operating losses could come in significantly better than expected.”
- Disney subsidiary ABC Signature, which produces live-action shows, sent out a letter “reminding” showrunners they are required to work in their non-writing capacities, even though the WGA prohibits this.
That’s all for now. Solidarity forever!