The Writers Guild of America has opened a new front in its focused pickets of TV and movie productions: Georgia.
Notable writers pecked outside the soundstages in Atlanta on Wednesday, where Peacock’s upcoming series is set Hysteria! is in production. The move marks the first time that notable writers and their allies have used targeted pickets to halt filming in Georgia. Sources confirm that production is continuing Hysteria!a 1980s thriller set against the backdrop of that decade’s “Satanic Panic” has been put on hiatus (although it’s not clear for how long).
Five weeks after the strike, the guild shifted its strategy slightly to include both targeted actions against productions and pickets outside studio lots and corporate offices in Los Angeles and New York. “We want to disrupt as much as possible,” veteran showrunner and WGA-East strike captain Warren Leight told me The Hollywood Reporter’S TV top 5 podcast. “The guild realizes that this is a pretty powerful thing. When the whole point is to clear the (programming) pipeline, the AMPTP knows they have to go back to the (negotiating) table. The quickest way to clear the pipeline is not to wait for all the shows to be taped, but to stop filming the shows.”
The targeted pickets are intended to deter other unions from crossing borders; Teamsters and IATSE members have flouted the rules, leading to productions shutting down, including Showtime’s The Chi in Chicago and Billions in New York, Apple TV+ Loot in Los Angeles and feature films Good luck of Lionsgate and Lightning strikes from Marvel. Adding Atlanta to the list of targets will increase the geographic reach of the guild.
Studios could lose $200,000 to $300,000 a day when filming is halted, and multiple executives acknowledge that THR that the targeted strike actions have been “effective”.
The Writers Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, representing media companies, have yet to resume negotiations. The AMPTP is currently in talks with the Directors Guild of America, whose contract expires at the end of June, while the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA is holding a strike vote among its members. The agreement with studios also expires on June 30.