After more than 140 days, the curtain has finally fallen on Hollywood’s writers strike. Leadership of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has a tentative agreement in hand that reportedly includes hard-won increases in streaming royalties and protections related to AI content. Union leadership has tentatively approved the deal, and while an official decision must wait until a full membership vote, union leadership has called an end to the strike. That means that writers can get back to work while the full membership vote is pending. That paves the way for strike-affected shows to return to the airwaves.
Of course, Hollywood’s labor problems are only half-resolved. The actors union, SAG-AFTRA, is still on strike. That means that actors still can’t promote newly released movies, and productions involving actors are still paused. However, the end of the writers strike does mean that certain shows will return.
Late-night hosts like Stephen Colbert are not covered by SAG-AFTRA’s strike, so they won’t need to wait for the actors to reach a deal before returning to their shows. (In fact, the late-night hosts weren’t required to pause production for the WGA strike, either, though most chose to do so to show solidarity and to avoid facing audiences without any of their scripted material.)
That means that shows like “Late Night With Stephen Colbert” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” are likely to return in October. In fact, two shows have already announced that they’ll return on Monday, Oct. 2, with brand-new episodes: “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” both on NBC.
Also likely to return soon is “Real Time with Bill Maher,” which had previously announced a writer-less return before reversing the decision.
It’s worth noting that the interview segments for these late-night shows will most likely not include any Hollywood stars until after the end of SAG-AFTRA strike, since actors are forbidden from promoting movies and shows during the strike.
Like their late-night counterparts, talk show hosts are not part of the SAG-AFTRA strike. Most of the daytime talk shows stopped production during the WGA strike, though several — including “The Drew Barrymore Show” and “The Talk” — announced that they would return mid-strike before backing off in the face of bad press and angry fans. Those shows, as well as “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” are reportedly planning to return in mid-October.
Reality TV Shows and Game Shows
Some unscripted shows have continued throughout the strike, since the producers that arrange the unscripted storylines on series like “The Real Housewives of New York City” weren’t bound by the WGA’s strike. But some shows were impacted by the strike. “Jeopardy” proceeded with previously written clues, but temporarily lost its host when Mayim Bialik refused to cross the picket line; presumably, getting back the writers will pave the way for new clues and the return of Bialik. “American Idol” was delayed during the strike too and is currently filming its “Idol Across America” auditions for Season 22, which will air in 2024.
Not Returning: Scripted Shows
Sorry, folks, but you need actors to make sitcoms, prime-time dramas, and prestige TV shows. Filming won’t resume on shows like “9-1-1” and “Abbott Elementary” until the actors and studios reach an agreement to end the SAG-AFTRA strike.
That said, the end of the writers strike could at least speed up the return of shows that were stuck in writing and pre-production phases during the strike. Writers for Showtime’s “Yellowjackets,” for example, had just one day in the writers room before the strike paused work on the show’s third season. The writers will be able to work on the plot and scripts for the season while the outcome of the SAG-AFTRA strike is still pending.