There are a lot of things that go into making a television program, as you could have probably already guessed. Producers and directors are often praised, coming in just behind the actors on the series. But what about the writers? After all, they are the ones telling the stories, aren’t they?
Unfortunately, many writers on even the most popular television series have been seeing a serious decrease in pay since 2010. 21 percent, to be exact. This is because although television may be now more accessible than ever, the format has begun to change. The length of a season has shortened, going down from the usual 22-23 episodes to just half that amount. Writers are generally paid per episode and are locked down to a solitary project until it is finished. This means that if a show will take “x” amount of time to finish, they are still getting paid for however many episodes are finished within that time. Roughly, this is translated to meaning there is just less work for those in the Writers Guild.
Not only that, but the booming rate of employment has also affected the rate of pay. Writers are in short demand; they’re seen as a dime a dozen, and they’re not happy with being treated that way. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has declared that they will put into effect a writer’s strike on May 1st unless a new contract for wages and benefits are negotiated. If no new contract is put in place, work will be stopped on May 2nd.
Twin Peaks and American Horror Story are two of the biggest shows expected to be affected by this. Though many will be on hiatus until Fall, that’s where the delays are most likely to begin. Most of are expected to go back into production over the summer, while the strike could very well be still going on if it comes to that. Some of our favorite shows could be pushed back months.
While this doesn’t exclusively affect horror television, a writer’s strike would absolutely get in the way of the production for many of your favorites. After all, The Walking Dead is still kind of a big deal. Just a little bit.
Some of you may recall the most recent writer’s strike in November of 2007, which lasted until February. The Office had a famously short season, airing only fourteen episodes as opposed to the ordered thirty. That particular writer’s strike was over concerns of profit from DVD sales and the compensation and distribution of pay from “new media” formats – straight to Netflix, for example.
There is still time for a contract to be negotiated – but not much. Come May 1st, we may start seeing the effects of this dispute. Here’s to hoping for the best, whatever that may be.