Writers Guild's Picketing Forces Shutdown of Peacock's 'Hysteria!' Production in Atlanta
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has expanded its picketing efforts to include the state of Georgia, targeting TV and film productions. Striking writers staged a picket outside soundstages in Atlanta where the output of Peacock's highly anticipated series, 'Hysteria!' was taking place. This marks the first time the WGA has employed targeted pickets to halt filming in Georgia. Sources have confirmed that production on 'Hysteria!', a thrilling series set in the 1980s during the "Satanic Panic" era, has been temporarily halted, although the duration of the pause remains unclear.
With the strike entering its fifth week, the WGA has adjusted its strategy to encompass targeted actions against productions and pickets outside studio lots and corporate offices in Los Angeles and New York. Warren Leight, a veteran showrunner and WGA-East strike captain, expressed the guild's intention to disrupt operations as much as possible during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter's TV's Top 5 podcast. Leight stated, "The guild realizes this is pretty powerful. If the whole point is to empty the [programming> pipeline, the AMPTP knows they must return to the [bargaining] table. The quickest way to empty the pipeline is not to wait until all the shows are shot but to stop the shows from shooting."
The purpose of these targeted pickets is to prevent other industry unions from crossing the picket lines. Members of the Teamsters and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) have respected the WGA's picket lines, leading to the shutdown of several productions, including Showtime's 'The Chi' in Chicago, 'Billions' in New York, Apple TV+'s 'Loot' in Los Angeles, and Lionsgate's 'Good Fortune' and Marvel's 'Thunderbolts.' By expanding its targets to include Atlanta, the WGA is broadening the geographic impact of its strike.
The consequences of filming shutdowns are significant for studios, with losses amounting to $200,000 to $300,000 per day. Numerous executives have acknowledged the effectiveness of the WGA's targeted strike actions, further intensifying the pressure on production companies.
Negotiations between the Writers Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing media companies, have yet to resume. Currently, the AMPTP is in talks with the Directors Guild of America, whose contract expires at the end of June. Additionally, the actors union SAG-AFTRA is conducting a strike authorization vote among its members, as its agreement with studios also expires on June 30.
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