Late-Night Comedy TV Goes Dark as Hollywood Writers Strike


| LAST UPDATE 05/07/2023

By Riley Hammond
Stephen Colbert writers strike
Nicholas Hunt / Staff via Getty Images

If you enjoy the comedy given to us by shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Late Night with Seth Meyers, then you'll be sad to know that they are all going off air. Why, you ask? Because the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which represents the people who write the jokes and stories for these shows, is going on strike over how little they get paid.

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon have become hugely successful in recent years, leading to more shows and films being made. Unfortunately, the pay for writers hasn't kept up with this growth. They say they're not being paid enough to have a decent quality of life and good working conditions, even though they're keeping everyone entertained with their hilarious jokes and witty stories. This is not the first time writers have gone on strike like this. The last time was in 2007 and it lasted for 100 days, which caused the TV industry to lose $2.1 billion. It was tough for television shows to make it through that time without their writers, so some of the hosts had to come up with their jokes and stories on the spot.

Writers Guild strike shows
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Negotiations between the trade group representing the studios, called the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), and the writers' union failed to secure an agreement, which triggered the strike. The AMPTP says they made an offer that included more money for the writers, but it wasn't enough. This work stoppage could impact the production of TV shows and movies in the near future as well, depending on how long the strike lasts. One of the reasons the writers feel they need to be paid better is that studios are making more money than ever thanks to them but the writers themselves aren't seeing much of that money.

It's not just the shows taking a hit from the writers' strike, though. Thousands of people who work behind the scenes, like camera operators, lighting experts, and makeup artists all depend on these late-night shows and other TV productions to make a living. Writers and showrunners are expecting industry leaders to find ways to address the issue of fair pay, given that the industry is shifting with the growth of streaming services. As the negotiations go on, we can only hope the writers and industry leaders find a middle ground that works. In the meantime, let’s hope for a speedy resolution!

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