TV Industry Still Suffering From 2023 Strikes

Photo from Glenn Carstens Peters on Unsplash

TV Industry Still Suffering From 2023 Strikes

By Movieguide® Contributor

2023’s WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes are still impacting the TV industry, and a new report has found that the number of shows that premiered last year dropped drastically. 

“Data firm Luminate’s inaugural year-end film and TV report shows that a total of 1,784 TV programs across all genres and platforms — premiered last year,” The Hollywood Reporter wrote. “That’s a huge amount of programming, but it’s also 21 percent fewer premieres than in 2022 — a drop of 480 totals.”

2023 saw fewer shows premiere than in 2020 when productions were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Luminate’s analysis shows that in the third quarter of the year — when premiere counts typically spike with the start of the traditional TV season — fewer than 450 programs had premieres, compared to just above 600 in 2022 and a five-year high of 678 in 2021,” The Hollywood Reporter continued. 

As we enter 2024, networks are working to make up for lost time. Many shows have been rushed into production but will feature fewer episodes per season.

“Nothing is set in stone but 10 episodes has emerged as a threshold — a ‘sweet spot’ as one agent put it — for season length during the strikes-impacted 2023-24 season,” Deadline reported. “A shorter order is not considered very feasible given the expenses involved in getting production up and running and then winding it down, making episodes more expensive when the overall cost is amortized across the season.”

Many shows were canceled due to the strikes, including Prime Video’s A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN and THE PERIPHERAL, as well as Apple TV+’s METROPOLIS and Peacock’s PITCH PERFECT: BUMPER IN BERLIN. 

“This year, with TV development and production at a standstill amid two major Hollywood strikes, by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, Labor Day is taking on additional significance as a threshold for the writers’ work stoppage to end in order for the networks to air meaningful seasons of their original live-action scripted series of at least 13 episodes,” Deadline wrote in August. “Crossing it without a deal or significant progress between AMPTP and WGA by October could delay new 2023-24 series’ launch until fall 2024 and put some sophomore and bubble shows — even beyond broadcast — in potential danger.”

Movieguide® previously reported on the impact of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes:

While the dual strikes will impact traditional television the most, streaming services are also feeling the pressure. 

“The economics of the industry are very challenging – the worst that we’ve ever seen,” Michael Nathanson, a veteran media analyst said. “A prolonged strike will only make things worse.”  

Since the writers’ strike began in May, Paramount’s stock price has fallen more than 30%, Disney’s has fallen 13% and Warner Bros. Discovery has seen a 7% drop in its stock price. Shares of WBD, the company that owns HBO and CNN, has fallen nearly 50% since April 2022. 

Streaming services have taken a hit, not only because their media production suffers from the strikes, but also because their business is a major component in the complaints of the strikers. The writers’ and actors’ guild both believe they are not being fairly compensated for their media that appears on streaming sites. Because of the inadequate compensation, many jobs in the industry that were previously stable have become unsustainable to keep up with the rise of American cost of living. 

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