Why the Writers Guild Strike Matters

Picture of the Writer Guild of America strike.

By Davis McCondichie, E23 Technical Producer

Picture this: You sit down to watch your favorite show on HBO. You browse through HBO GO searching for it. The new season was supposed to debut today, but you cannot seem to find it. Suddenly, you realize that no one wrote it. The writers have gone on strike, and no one is there to tell you a story.

America potentially faces this reality on May 1. Mark that date, because it matters. That is the day that the Writers Guild of America, or WGA, will decide whether or not they will go on strike. If they decide to, the decision will affect television’s future for years to come, and it will affect the life of a college student as well.

Now, if you want to know why the writers are thinking about striking, then check out Vox’s article that explains the situation.

I urge you to do so, because understanding why these writers are striking is imperative to understanding how it affects the average college student.

In the current age of television, these writers are working on shorter seasons with much more detail. This is most commonly seen in 13 episode seasons on Netflix.

Due to these shorter seasons, writers are not receiving the same level of income despite doing more work. Therefore, they are trying to regain their lost pay. If the WGA chooses to go on strike, this means the staff writers who work on series television will disappear.

Now some may remember this happened in the 2007-2008 television season. What resulted was a huge financial hit in Los Angeles and one of the worst years of television ever.

Unscripted reality shows dominated the schedule, and late night shows floundered at times.

The same results can be expected from this strike. After all, Hollywood will try to keep moving, but the drop in writing talent will be visible.

This means that movies currently being written with the use of the WGA will suddenly lose their staff, and the quality of these movie will likely suffer.

Your favorite late night host, whether it be Samantha Bee or John Oliver, will no longer have a staff writing jokes for them.

Your favorite series will either be cancelled or delayed for at least a season.

One clear example of how detrimental this can be to viewers is the cancelled television series Heroes. It was in its second season when the WGA strike hit in 2007. Very quickly, the season had to go on hiatus.

When Heroes attempted to come back after the strike, it lost nearly half of its viewers, and was cancelled after season four.

Similarly, there will be shows this year that will lose out if there is a strike.

To put it simply: If the WGA goes on strike, then the entertainment industry suffers.

Viewers get lower quality television, and films will take a hit for a while too.

Therefore, while the U.S. tax reform plan matters, and the healthcare bill may see the floor again before Congress grinds to a halt, those things are not as directly impactful to a college student.

Television and movies are an escape from the stress of coursework. They are a bonding point for friendships and the basis for daily discussions. All of that could go away very quickly.

So just keep in mind that this WGA strike matters to you, so do not overlook it.

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