With the Writers Guild of America strike now in its third month — and a potential Screen Actors Guild strike on the horizon — no one really knows when Hollywood will be able to resume normal operations. Some have seen the Directors Guild of America’s recent deal with the AMPTP as cause for optimism, but one of TV’s top showrunners isn’t so sure.
In a new appearance on the People I (mostly) admire podcast“The Wire” creator David Simon encouraged the extraordinaire writers to manage their expectations around returning to work and warned them to settle for the long haul.
“I heard something very funny,” Simon said. “It may be apocryphal, but someone, the VP of Eastern, assured me the other day that he had good authority that all charter yachts from Santa Barbara down to San Diego were chartered through the end of the summer. All of them the executives are away for the summer.
Simon explained that even if the anecdote is false, he sees it as indicative of a larger truth about the studies’ relaxed timing to resolve the strike.
“I don’t know if that’s true or not,” she said. “What I feel is that this is being dictated by Wall Street and the people who respond to Wall Street. And their metrics are ambitious in the sense of preserving AI and eliminating temporary employment for film and TV writers. They have a long way to go before giving up on that idea. And they’ll at least spend the summer, inflicting pain on us as we walk the line.
According to Simon, companies won’t show up to the negotiating table in good faith until the strike has lasted long enough for streaming services to see real declines in customer engagement due to a lack of new content.
“And only until we start burning through whatever excess production we have left for them to broadcast,” he said. “Just until they start to see their audiences waver and see churn in terms of subscriptions on cable and streaming platforms, until they start to see it get a little bit negative or go static, and they realize they’re going to need more content soon. And I think that means several months online. I do.”