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:
- 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:
- 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!
Former union kingpin Patric Verrone, who wrote for Futurama and The Simpsons, and has a thriving historical figurines business, is running for California State Senate. If elected, he would be the second Simpsons writer to hold public office, following John Swartzwelder’s disastrous coup in Guyana.
As president of the Writers Guild of America, West, Verrone led the 2007-2008 writers strike that lead to higher wages and longer beards. Now he’s hitting up people for money by namedropping the shows he worked on:
“At ‘Futurama,’ I wrote a lot about the future,” he said. “For California, the future is still being written. In the script we write together, there’s a happy ending. Please join me in in this cause. We’re still in this together.”
Get it? He wrote Futurama, so now he’s going to write the future, with everyone, banging away on the typewriters of Democracy. Wait a minute… he wants to write a happy ending? He wants to end California?!? This mad man must be stopped at all costs.
Matt Groening and David X. Cohen provided one of the night’s several references to the writer’s strike as they approached the podium with strike signs to collect their award for Futurama: Bender’s Big Score (Best Home Entertainment Production). Cohen joked that the writers had granted the Annie Awards a waiver for that one category alone. After winning the Annie for Music in an Animated TV production, The Simpsons composer Alf Clausen thanked Groening for using L.A. studio musicians and a 35-piece orchestra for every episode of his long-running show. He was modest as always comparing himself to Elizabeth Taylor’s eighth husband. “I know what to do, but I don’t know how to make it interesting!”
Hey idiots, the strike’s over! [Animation Magazine]
Everyone knows that one of the major causes of the writers’ strike was the fact that writers were not being compensated for profits made from online distribution. Rather than waiting to see how negotiations would turn out, News Corp. and NBC Universal launched the private beta of their YouTube rival Hulu at the end of October (I didn’t get my invite until like a few days ago, so whatever). Hulu features clips and full episodes of all your favorite Fox and NBC shows, including The Simpsons, with some fairly annoying ads for the upcoming movie Hitman built in. It’s actually a nice, clean interface, and you actually the option to turn on subtitles. As of right now, the Simpsons category only has full episodes from Season 19, as well as some 60-odd clips from Seasons 1 – 7, some of which are just couch gags.
So while you’re waiting for the strike to end, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy all your favorite Fox/NBC-owned content, with the knowledge that none of that ad money is going to the writers. [Hulu]
The guy who exec-produced some of the worst seasons of The Simpsons (9-12) wrote a joke for Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. How fitting.
Not as funny as the Office writers but whatever
Unfortunately it’s not very funny [Huffington Post]
Here in Canada, on a Canadian channel called NewsWorld, [writer] Joel Cohen appeared live via satelitte to discuss the current strike. In it, he said there’s only enough new episodes lined up for the rest of the year, after that, that’s it.
He also said that when the writers do eventually return, there will be such a backlog that there won’t be any new episodes until this time next year which is November 2008.
What will become of ANIMATION DOMINATION??? [Some Guy On A Message Board]
Along with at least 100 other showrunners, Matt Groening and James L. Brooks joined in solidarity with the WGA strike, signing a pledge and vowing that they “will do no writing” until a deal is made. Wait, they still work on the show? [WGA.org]