The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is officially going on strike today, Tuesday, May 2, and late-night talk shows will be the first to feel the impact of the walk-out.
Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert will all go dark as of Tuesday. Other late-night live programming, such as Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live, Real Time with Bill Maher, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, will also be hit, although final decisions on those shows are expected to be made later this week.
The Late Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show, Late Night, and The Daily Show are expected to air re-runs while the strike is ongoing.
The strike comes as WGA clashed with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the company that represents the major studios, such as Disney and Netflix. The WGA is demanding higher pay in light of the modern streaming boom and also protection against the rise of artificial intelligence in writing.
This marks the first WGA strike in 15 years and will see more than 9000 writers walk out, with picketing beginning on Tuesday afternoon. The previous writers’ strike in 2007 lasted for 100 days, costing the industry around $2bn.
The Writers Guild of America East, based in New York, will begin picketing on Tuesday at the Peacock NewFront on 5th Avenue. The WGAE also plans to picket on Wednesday (May 3) outside Netflix headquarters in New York.
Meanwhile, across California, picketing will take place outside of Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Paramount, Warner Bros., and the other major studios in Los Angeles.
“The greatest amount of leverage we collectively bring to a strike action is the withdrawal of our labor,” the guild said in a statement (via Variety). “Picketing is a key tactic to demonstrate that we are all in this together, and that until a strike is resolved, it’s not business as usual.”
Speaking at the Met Gala on Monday (May 1) night, Fallon was asked about the strike, which he said he hoped wouldn’t go ahead. However, he added that he wanted to see a “fair deal” for writers.”I wouldn’t have a show without my writers,” he said. “I support them all the way.”
Meanwhile, on the latest edition of Late Night, Meyers stated, “I love writing. I love writing for TV. I love writing this show. I love that we get to come in with an idea for what we want to do every day, and we get to work on it all afternoon, and then I have the pleasure of coming out here.”
He continued, “No one is entitled to a job in show business. But for those people who have a job, they are entitled to fair compensation. They are entitled to make a living. I think it’s a very reasonable demand that’s being set out by the guild. And I support those demands.”