Writers Strike: All of the Productions Shutting Down, From ‘Abbott Elementary’ to ‘Yellowjackets’
Roughly 12,000 of Hollywood’s film and TV writers are out of the office and on the streets, picketing for a new and fair contract with the industry’s major studios. In the first few days since the Writers Guild of America announced a strike, multiple productions have been stalled or otherwise impacted, as they were during the last writers’ strike of 07-08.
In solidarity with the union efforts, Drew Barrymore is out as live host of this Sunday’s MTV Movie & TV Awards. Though the ceremony will move ahead, Barrymore will appear only in pre-taped segments. She has, however, committed to emceeing next year’s ceremony. “I have listened to the writers, and in order to truly respect them, I will pivot from hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards live in solidarity with the strike,” she said in a statement to Variety. “Everything we celebrate and honor about movies and television is born out of their creation. And until a solution is reached, I am choosing to wait. But I’ll be watching from home and hope you will join me.”
Meanwhile, U.K. filming on House of the Dragon Season 2 will continue, as scripts have been finalized, a production source told Variety, although as it currently stands any rewriting by WGA members would be prohibited. But other series that were previously in production have ground to a halt. Ahead, a look at the shows and movies shutting down mid-strike.
This post will be updated.
Saturday Night Live
NBC’s flagship sketch series is at a standstill, with three episodes remaining in its 48th season. The show will air reruns in its final three weeks, which were set to include Pete Davidson’s hosting debut on May 6 with musical guest Lil Uzi Vert; Kieran Culkin’s second time hosting on May 13, with musical guest Labyrinth; and Jennifer Coolidge’s hosting debut with Foo Fighters as musical guest, according to The Hollywood Reporter. (NBC declined comment to the outlet.)
Davidson, whose Peacock series Bupkis just premiered, told The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon last week that a canceled show would fit his personal branding, joking: “It sucks because it just feeds my weird story I have in my head, like, of course that would happen to me.” Meanwhile, SNL cast member Bowen Yang told THR from the picket lines, “We had a few good shows left…Pete was very excited to host, even though he knew there was a big asterisk on the week, and there was a looming possibility it might not happen. I think we were all ready to give it our all for the next three weeks before the season ended.”
Given the breakneck speed with which late-night writers must write each night’s episode, it’s no surprise to learn that late-night shows are the first to go dark during a strike. The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night With Seth Meyers, and The Daily Show have all gone on hiatus, and are expected to air reruns for the time being.
Multiple hosts have already committed to paying their crews during the hiatus, according to sources and Hollywood trade reports, including Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and Late Night’s Seth Meyers, both of whom are listed as members of the Writers Guild of America East branch. NBC will shell out staffers’ salaries for two weeks, with Fallon and Meyers personally dipping into funds to help extend their pay for a third week. The network is also paying for employees’ health care through September. An NBCUniversal spokeswoman declined comment to VF.
“I feel very strongly that what the writers are asking for is not unreasonable,” Meyers said during Monday’s episode of the show—his last for the foreseeable future. While on the red carpet for the Met Gala, Fallon agreed: “I wouldn’t have a show if it wasn’t for my writers. I support them all the way.” His announcer, former SNL co-head writer Steve Higgins—whose son John Higgins is currently an SNL writer—was spotted on the picket line on Tuesday.
The writers’ room for season 3 of the Emmy-winning ABC sitcom was meant to begin on May 2, halting in tandem with the strike. “Abbott Elementary was supposed to go back to the room this week,” show writer Brittani Nichols, who penned the show’s season 2 finale, said in an interview with Democracy Now. “We are a show that writes while we air, so if this strike goes on for a significant period of time, our show will not come out on time. And that could change the amount of episodes, which people I’m sure will be very upset about. It could change the air date. It could change a lot of different things.”