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The WGA Contract Expires At Midnight. What's Next?

A small group of protesters hold signs reading "Writers Guild of American on Strike."
Writers Guild of America members and supporters picket in front of NBC studios on Feb. 8, 2008 in Burbank, California.
(David McNew
Getty Images)
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Take a second and think about your favorite television show right now. For me, that’s Abbott Elementary. I enjoy ending my weekday curled up on the couch with my favorite meal to laugh for 22 minutes. These beloved programs are not only a way to unwind, they’re something to bond over with friends and colleagues.

What happens if TV and film writers strike?

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Now that the contract between Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is set to expire one minute after midnight, I can’t help but wonder how these shows we all love to watch will be affected.

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Writers could go on strike as early as tomorrow. It would be the seventh time the WGA hit the picket line since 1960 — the most strikes of any industry union.

My colleague John Horn is reporting on the strike as new developments arise. His latest article explains what happened the last time the writers went on strike in 2007-2008 — $2.1 billion in economic losses and a stoppage in scripted TV production — and what might happen this time. Late-night shows would be the first ones to be impacted, prompting Late Night host Seth Meyers to comment that a strike would be a "miserable" thing.

A lot has changed since 2008. For one thing, streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are king, but they don’t allow writers to obtain residuals. That’s just one of the many issues on the table between the WGA and the AMPTP.

The Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild each told its members they are contractually obligated to continue working and not honor any WGA picket lines should they happen. But, as John reports, plenty of people could be affected — costume designers, lighting companies and even caterers — and it could mean tens of millions of dollars in lost business per day.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

  • Mayor Karen Bass is urging the L.A. Department of Water and Power to do swift repairs on 753 high-risk utility poles. This comes after the LADWP agreed to pay $38 million in a lawsuit settlement where two people died after being electrocuted by a downed power line. My colleague Nate Perez has the answers as to why it’s taking so long, what’s next and what you should do if you happen to see a downed power line. 
  • Curious about when you will receive your Section 8 housing voucher? You’re not the only one. To help answer that question, my colleague Julia Barajas wrote a guide.
  • L.A. County officials announced plans to appeal U.S. District Judge David O. Carter’s rejection of a settlement deal for more mental health and drug treatment beds. My colleague Nick Gerda has more on this story, and why county officials are fighting back. 
  • University of California has a program that aims to increase the number of students of color into its medical program and into the medical field in general. It’s called Programs in Medical Education, or UC PRIME. Unfortunately, there’s little known about how effective the program is when it comes to long-term outcomes. 
  • My colleague Jacob Margolis and 36,000 other people attended the first Explore JPL (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) event in four years. There were Mars rovers, helicopters and spacecraft. Read more about what he discovered during the event. 
  • The California Air Resources Board, or CARB, passed two climate policies that could shake up freight rail and trucking industries. My colleague Erin Stone has more on the new rules, how the state got here and why cleaner fuels are necessary for positive health outcomes. 
  • California’s cannabis industry is facing some challenging times right now because of the illicit market. Some see it as there being too much product out on the market, while others think there aren’t enough retail options. 
  • Love butterflies? Check out SOAR - Tropical Butterflies in the South Coast Botanic Garden now and throughout August. It’s time to say goodbye to Pop-Up Magazine — in style, with filmmakers, podcasters and writers. Attend the Pop-Up Magazine: One More Time! Event at The Theatre at Ace Hotel. Are you a fan of Mexican masked wrestling? Spend your Cinco de Mayo at The Mayan Theatre as Lucha VaVOOM makes a return with comedians, burlesque dancers and aerialists. Check out this week’s list of things to do here.
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

Wait ... One More Thing

The Top Three Tea-Sipping Trends

A hand-drawn map in the style of a star map pinpoints places of interest in Los Angeles. There are locations highlighted from the coast, down to the Long Beach area, Santa Fe, Burbank, and all in between. The map is titles "Galindo's Constellation of L.A. Stars."
Erick Galindo's guide for L.A.'s visitors.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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THREE — Erick Galindo’s Welcome To Los Angeles Guide 

I often scroll through Twitter and see L.A. newcomers talking about all the things they find challenging about being here. The complaints are usually centered around food and things to do. Well, if you’re new to L.A., my colleague Erick Galindo has the perfect guide for you. Here’s his Constellation of L.A. Stars that YOU should visit as a newbie.

TWO — Writers Guild of America Looming Strike 

The New Yorker recently published a story about the possible Writers Guild of America strike titled “Why are TV Writers So Miserable?” In the story, Michael Schulman presented anecdotes from TV writers expressing hardships that come with the job. One story I found particularly interesting was Alex O’Keefe’s experience as a writer on FX’s “The Bear.” He found himself living a working-class existence, applying to movie theater jobs even after working on a show that had won the WGA Award for Best Comedy Series. O’Keefe uses some salty language to describe his experience so you'll just have read the story to see how he REALLY feels.

ONE — Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors Advance to The Next Playoff Round 

The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday to advance to the conference semifinals. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Sacramento Kings yesterday to also move on to the conference semis. You know what this means? Two beloved basketball stars — LeBron James and Steph Curry — will once again square off in the postseason. Game 1 is tomorrow night at 10 p.m.

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