Hollywood Writers Strike Is ‘Going to Be a While’

Over the last week, media companies conveyed an air of business as usual. On Thursday, HBO hosted a red carpet premiere for a documentary, while the Fox broadcast network announced a survivalist reality show called “Stars on Mars” hosted by William Shatner.

“3 … 2 … 1 … LIFT OFF!” the network’s promotional materials read.

With the exception of late-night shows, which immediately went dark, Mr. Bakish assured Wall Street, “consumers really won’t notice anything for a while.” Networks and streaming services have a large amount of banked content. Reality shows, news programs and some scripted series made by overseas companies are unaffected by the strike. Most movies scheduled for release this year are well past the writing stage.

Shares climbed on Friday for every company involved with the failed contract talks; investors tend to like it when costs go down, which is what happens when production slows, as during a strike. If the strike drags into July, analysts pointed out, studios can exit pricey deals with writers under “force majeure” clauses of contracts.

“The sorry news for writers is that, in declaring a strike, they may in fact be helping the streaming giants and their parent companies,” Luke Landis, a media and internet analyst at SBV MoffettNathanson, wrote in a report on Wednesday.

Writers, however, succeeded in making things difficult for studios over the first week. Apple TV+ was forced to postpone the premiere of “Still,” about Michael J. Fox and his struggle with Parkinson’s disease, because Mr. Fox refused to cross a picket line. In Los Angeles, writers picketed the Apple TV+ set for “Loot,” starring Maya Rudolph, causing taping to halt. In New York, similar actions disrupted production for shows like “Billions,” the Showtime drama. Other affected shows included “Stranger Things” on Netflix, “Hacks” on HBO Max and the MTV Movie & TV Awards telecast on Sunday, which went forward without a host after Drew Barrymore pulled out, citing the strike.

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