The US film and television industry could grind to a halt over a bad case of writers’ block. It is not a lack of inspiration but a pay dispute that has led the scriptwriters’ union to call a strike.
Writers want more in royalties from DVD and new, digital media sales. But studio bosses have refused, prompting an unlimited strike – the first in the industry for 20 years.
Union president Patric M. Verrone announced the decision:
“The board of directors for the Writers’ Guild of America West and the Writers’ Guild of America East, acting on the authority granted them by the memberships, voted unanimously to call a strike, effective 12:01 a.m., Monday November 5.”
The writing has been on the wall for months but talks between writers and studios have come to nothing.
Union negotiator John Bowman said:
“Every business deals with ambiguity; the idea is that the response to ambiguity is to try to get people to work for you for free. It does not wash with us.”
A lengthy strike could cost the industry hundreds of millions of euros. Popular scripted topical talk shows would have to give way to re-runs, game-shows and the scourge of scriptwriters- Reality TV.