Biden urges ‘fair deal’ for striking Hollywood writers
US President Joe Biden said Monday he wants to see striking movie and television writers in Hollywood promptly get a “fair deal” on contract negotiations.
“I sincerely hope the writers’ strike in Hollywood gets resolved and writers are given the fair deal they deserve as soon as possible,” he said during a film screening at the White House in honor of the Asian-American community.
It is the first time the pro-union Democrat has commented on the strike, which kicked off after negotiations between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and major US studios and streaming services failed last week.
The thousands of picketing writers say they are striking for better compensation in a field that has been disrupted by streaming.
WGA represents some 11,500 screenwriters.
Writers also say they are looking for more stable working conditions and a better share of the profits generated by the rise of streaming.
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In the past, network television series regularly stretched into 20 episodes, providing writers with months of work, plus royalties — known as residuals — paid out when broadcasters aired reruns.
But as more of the industry is dominated by streaming, writers say they are making less money.
Series on streaming platforms can be markedly shorter than their network counterparts — sometimes coming in at just six episodes — leading to less work and smaller teams.
And writers say streaming residuals are much lower.
The strike’s immediate impact has already been seen with the suspension of several late-night shows. Disruptions to television series and films more likely the longer the strike goes on.
The last Hollywood writers’ strike was in 2007, when writers paralyzed the industry for 100 days, and cost California’s economy $2.1 billion.