In One Week, Late Night Could Take a Hard Hit

Looming Hollywood writers strike will affect talk shows, 'SNL' first if deal isn't reached by May 1
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2023 1:57 PM CDT
Late-Night Stars Brace for Possible Writers Strike
Striking film and television writers picket outside Paramount Studios on Jan. 23, 2008, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)

May 1 is the deadline for Hollywood writers, represented by the Writers Guild of America, to reach a contract agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, and if no such deal is struck, the late-night TV arena will be the first to say goodbye to new episodes, reports Deadline. The outlet notes that network TV talk show hosts Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, and the two Jimmys (Kimmel and Fallon), as well as The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live, would see their programs affected. Bill Maher's and John Oliver's cable shows on HBO would also get caught up in the fallout if a strike occurs, per the Los Angeles Times. The paper notes it would be the first WGA work stoppage in 15 years if the strike takes place.

Included in the contract negotiations are pushback by writers for updated regulations on working conditions, as well as better pay, particularly when it comes to residuals from streaming content. In a Thursday memo, the WGA notes that because writers usually spend May and June whipping up scripts for September and October releases, fall programming would be especially hard hit, with some premieres potentially postponed. SNL would be affected even sooner due to its live format, with its last three shows of this season in the crosshairs—including the season finale. More than 9,000 writers affiliated with both the east and west branches of the WGA have approved the strike, the unions say, with leaders calling it an "existential" moment for writers, per the New York Times.

The AMPTP, which carries out bargaining on behalf of Hollywood production firms, says the authorization of the strike "should come as no surprise to anyone." "A strike authorization vote has always been part of the WGA's plan, announced before the parties even exchanged proposals," that group says in a statement. "Our goal is, and continues to be, to reach a fair and reasonable agreement." An SNL cast member puts in perspective how "convoluted" the issue can be. "I absolutely support the writers and I want the writers to get what they deserve and need, but I don't want our crew to be out of work," they tell Deadline. "We can't make this art without each other." (More Hollywood writers' strike stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.