After just one week of swapping pens for picket line signs, the WGA Writer’s Strike is already hitting Hollywood where it hurts most: its bank account.
The guild’s negotiating committee sent a letter to its members this week titled “The Cost of Settling” outlining how badly this unionized protest is going for studios and streamers like Disney, Warner Bros., and Netflix. According to the WGA, the strike is costing California’s economy (read: Hollywood) over $30 million per day. Most of that is thanks to the strike shutting down production on big-budget projects, forcing networks and studios to scramble planned Fall TV lineups.
But what’s really sad — other than the idea of a “strike proof” TV schedule filled with reality game show competitions, Abbott Elementary reruns, and something called The Golden Bachelor, a show we’re desperately hopping is a canine-centric version of ABC’s polyamorous dating series — is the knowledge that studios would rather lose more money denying writers a living wage than, we don’t know, pay them what they’re worth and just move the f*ck on.
In all, the WGA is asking for updated terms that would cost studios $429 million per year, which sounds like a lot until you realize these companies are making billions from the work of a few thousand employees. The guild broke down what their new proposed contract would cost each studio and the numbers make this whole thing seem even more ridiculous. For Disney, a company that makes $82 billion annually, writers are asking for $75 million, less than .01 percent of their gross profits. In fact, the highest cost percentage of revenue a studio would incur would happen over at Netflix, where writers are asking for $68 million of the streamer’s $31 billion profits. That percentage? Just .214 percent.
The letter sent to WGA members ends by claiming studios are “risking significant continued disruption in the coming weeks and months that would far outweigh the costs of settling,” hinting that the strike could last for some time — which would end up costing these companies even more money while the rest of us have to endure more Judge Steve Harvey episodes.