A lot can happen in 146 days. When the Writers Guild strike began in May, Drew Barrymore was one of its first public heroes, when she resigned as host of the MTV Movie & TV Awards in solidarity. But four months later, Barrymore became one of the most hated public figures of the strike when she tried to justify her decision to bring back her daytime talk show amid the work stoppage. There have been many winners and losers in this hot summer of work, and it’s not over yet, as SAG-AFTRA looks to strike its own deal with AMPTP. But as the WGA prepares to vote on its hard-won new contract, here are some of the entities that made it to the other side on the rise — or a little at risk.
Stand-up and host of series such as “Adam Ruins Everything” and the podcast “Factually!” Known for breaking down things you thought you knew, and educating audiences through comedy. As a member of the UTU’s bargaining committee, he played a pivotal role in explaining the strike to the public, and how solidarity would pay off in a contract that would address key concerns. “We stuck together and won,” he wrote on social media.
AMPTP President Carole Lombardini is not on X/Twitter – at least as far as we know. But the anonymous account mocking her became the one who struck. Fake Carol spent her days eating bad food at Sherman Oaks Galleria while finding various ways to plot against the unions and defend studio CEOs. “Yes, we have to get back to work, and AMPTP is willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen as long as it just takes waiting for the writers to change their minds and accept the one and only offer,” Carol wrote. We got it done in over 4 months even though it was bad.
Best known for co-creating the drama “Party of Five,” among other works, Keyser is a former president of WGA West who, as co-chair of the union’s bargaining committee, became the forceful and determined face of the strike. His regular videos kept the base informed and active even as the writers’ strike became one of the longest in history. “We are fighting to survive,” Keyser noted in a speech this summer.
At last count, the comedian and “The Price Is Right” host has spent more than $500,000 to cover meal costs for striking writers at Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank and Swingers diner in Los Angeles’ Fairfax district. “There were a lot of heroes in the WGA strike, but one stands above the rest. Thank you, Drew Carey,” Joe Russo wrote on social media. Not to be outdone, Seth MacFarlane gained kudos for donating no less than $6 million To the Community Recreation Fund to assist workers affected by strikes.
“Sorry to Bother You” and “I’m a Virgo” writer/director Boots Riley became a rallying figure not only for the WGA, but for union action everywhere. He also wrote on social media: “Inspiring. It’s happening everywhere. With 3,000 strikes in 3 years, in multiple industries, and many in unorganized locations B4 – This is the most widespread strike wave in the United States since the 1970s. It will continue to grow. “The best thing presidents can do is give up quickly.”
Drew Barrymore/Bill Maher
Things didn’t have to go this way. But in their blunt attempts to explain why they were resuming their talk shows in the midst of a strike, Drew Barrymore and Bill Maher managed to direct the anger of the striking writers at themselves. Eventually, both hosts delayed their shows’ return to the air, but the damage had already been done.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has counted the cost of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes as having a $5 billion impact on California’s economy. “For more than 100 days, 11,000 writers have gone on strike over existential threats to their careers and livelihoods – voicing real concerns about the stress and anxiety workers are feeling,” he said in a statement. “I am grateful that both sides came together to reach an agreement that benefits all parties involved and can put a significant portion of California’s economy back to work.”
The ongoing production shutdown has led some networks and streaming companies to reevaluate low-rated bubble shows that had previously led to renewals. Among the series that were initially saved from cancellation and picked up — but then canceled anyway — include Amazon Prime Video’s “A League of Their Own,” and Amazon Prime Video’s “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin.” Peacock.
David Zaslav/Bob Iger
David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, the early villains of the WGA strike, was even taunted during his speech at Boston University’s commencement in May. He was not helped by footage of him celebrating with champagne at the Cannes Film Festival that month, in the midst of the strike. But then came Disney CEO Bob Iger, who was initially seen as the figure who might broker a deal between the two sides. When Iger, live from Sun Valley, told CNBC that the WGA and SAG-AFTRA weren’t “realistic,” the attackers weren’t happy.
It all started when the MTV Movie & TV Awards were downgraded to a pre-recorded event in May. The Daytime Emmys (scheduled for June 16) were quickly postponed and the Tonys were forced to reschedule their June 11 show (but it continued). The 2023 Peabody Awards, which were scheduled to kick off in Los Angeles for the first time, have been cancelled. The Television Critics Assn.’s TCA Awards have been announced. Through a press release. Then there’s the case of the Primetime Emmy Awards, which were originally scheduled to take place in September but have been postponed until January 2024.
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