The WGA (Writers Guild of America) strike that began three weeks ago shows no sign of being resolved anytime soon, with some industry estimates that it could continue through the summer, and may be joined by other industry guild strikes (both the screen actors guild and directors guild have contracts coming up in June). As reported earlier this month, this could have an impact on pending live-action Star Trek productions. Some of those working on Star Trek shows are talking about that impact.
Strange New Worlds season 3 waiting
A number of Star Trek writers past and present assembled for a Trek-themed picketing of Paramount Pictures in Hollywood last Friday. Among them was Strange New Worlds co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers, who spoke to Larry Nemecek as he chronicled the event for a Larry Nemecek’s Trekland Special. In the video from the event, Myers was asked about how the strike is impacting production on the previously announced third season:
We won’t be able to shoot any of that [season 3] until after the strike is done, yeah. But season 2 has been done for a while and we are excited for people to see it.
As noted by Myers, season 2 of Strange New Worlds arrives on June 15. Paramount+ announced a third season in March, the writing for which had already been underway for months. Production was expected to start this month and run through the summer in Toronto. While Paramount+ could have started production with any scripts they considered finished, it appears they are waiting for the strike to end. One factor could be that the actors guild (SAG-AFTRA) may also be going on strike if they can’t agree to a new contract with the studios before the current contract ends on June 30. The studios are also working on a new deal with the directors guild (DGA) as their contract also ends on June 30.
Academy writers’ room extended
At the end of March Paramount+ also announced the new series Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. Co-showrunners and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Noga Landau were also on hand at the Trek picketing event in Hollywood. Lower Decks actress Tawny Newsome is also one of the writers, and she was spotted picketing at the Trek-themed event in New York. In Hollywood, Nemecek spoke briefly to Starfleet Academy writer’s room assistant Aviel Mann Ballo, who talked about the impact the strike is having on the show:
Our timeline is impacted but it was already a long runway… It will push the writers’ room into probably next year.
The Academy series did have more time. While writing had started before the show was officially announced, it writers’ room was still actively working at the time the strike began. It was previously announced by Paramount that production was planned for early in 2025, which is what Ballo was referring to when he noted they had a “long runway,” and it does look like the writers are planning on extending their work into 2024 due to the strike.
Watch the Trek day picket line video
There’s more good stuff in Larry’s visit to the Paramount picket line featuring a number of veteran Star Trek writers talking about the strike and more.
Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.
Obviously none of this is a shock. I just hope they come to a fair and amicable solution for everyone. And if that means people will get some delayed or even cancelled content for awhile so be it. And the reality is there is so much freaking content out there right now, most people probably won’t even notice unless they are a devoted fan to a specific property.
Not to mention the WGA’s $20mm strike fund. They can keep this up for a while.
Wow great to know! Thanks.
Good point. You are right about the amount of content. I mean, Picard Season 3 is so good that I will re-watch it many times over. It will be enough to hold me over for a few years. (although, I wish we could get Legacy sooner!)
The writers seem to be in a good position. I hope they get their fair share!
I am so backed up with content, if they never release a single thing for another year, I would still have plenty to watch lol.
I plan to rewatch Picard season 3 soon as well! And I feel confident a Legacy show will happen, just have to wait for things to settle. People seem to want this more than they did SNW, so it’s a matter when and not if IMO.
This is probably the real reason they rushed to film season 2.
Season two has been in the can for, like, a year. As I recall, it was greenlit while season one was still shooting.
From what I gather that person is one of the ones that drank Midnight’s Edge’s kool aid and thinks all this new Trek is absolutely failing but is being propped up by a vast conspiracy run by Kurtzman which is faking viewer numbers and keeping Sonequa on camera after she was fired and all kinds of other craziness. So of course to then this strike is connected to the season that finished filming a year ago.
That site is, literally, QAnon for nerds.
Those people simply want to hate. They were never Trek fans.
Midnight’s Edge is to science fiction what QAnon is to reality.
Yeah I know, but Hollywood has been stockpiling content to weather out this strike for over a year now.
Your premise is false.
Whether the backlog of unreleased content was a tactical move or not, it’s definitely something that improves bargaining power on the firms’ side.
The pandemic, and lessons recently learned about the need to smooth out releases to reduce churn are certainly part of it. But not all.
Other than Netflix, which is dropping something new each week, mainly productions made outside the United States, the other streamers have sharply reduced their release tempo and have held onto the backlog of delayed productions coming out of the pandemic.
A34’s inference that the coming strike played into those scheduling decisions is entirely credible.
Hope the writers get everything they are asking for.
Well, they won’t get everything. But I do hope they get a good deal. Showbiz is a tough way to make a living, and people who jump into it tend to have a passion for the work. They (anyone, really) should be justly compensated.
The definition of compromise. A solution neither side is completely happy with.
I negotiate contracts for a living, and I’ve never not had to compromise. But that rarely leaves me feeling unhappy, because the vast majority of the time, the end result is equitable. Now, I’ve certainly experienced counterparties who tried to screw me over, but, trust me, they never succeeded.
It’s really kind of sad to see how freaking happy all of the people on strike look in that photo? In working class union strikes you typically don’t see that sort of disingenuous glee?
One of the best things about a strike is getting to see the gleeful rebellion against the bosses. Still the best I think is the Disney strike of 1941, which had some fantastic looking signs. Naturally.
I prefer the 1911 textiles strike. Man, we all had a good time at that one, and the taps flowed every night
Oh don’t try to pretend you didn’t cross the line that year, scab. May your longjohns be forever itchy — the textile curse is upon you!
I don’t know about that. I’ve seen a few strikes (used to do side work with union types) and, at least at first, it’s always kind of a party. It’s kind of nice to be able to flex your bargaining power with management. Things definitely settle down after awhile though.
Would you feel better if they were rioting?
Seriously, there’s nothing wrong with making the best of a s**tty situation.
Plus with the US like it is today. If they did anything but look happy, things will get violent for them fast. At least this way they’re not being bothered.
Not rioting, but yeah I would take them a little more seriously if they behaved like this wasn’t a party and exhibited some more militant attitudes about their issues.
they are not in the military they are actors writers producers directors animators they are like any other regular person working for a company that are on strike so their attitudes are reflective of that with how they are going about it
Well I’ve been to strike picket lines and I’ve never seen a group this happy. Militant does not being in the military — here it means to have a force of personality to stand up for your rights. That’s different from joviality, which is what I am seeing.
You’re attempting to delegitimize the strike by equating its legitimacy to a false standard of conduct you’re trying to define. Further, if they were performing to your standard, the folks who tend to be anti-labor would just be calling them leftists. They’re the ones walking the picket lines, you don’t get to define their narrative.
Not at all, I’m just commenting that the optics of these photos is not the best way to do PR for this strike. My concern is that it may very well be reinforcing the INCORRECT PERCEPTION from many in the general public that these are Hollywood elites.
So I think whoever is in charge of this union’s PR needs to either be replaced or needs to change their approach ASAP. The optics of this strike should look like a working class strike, not a party.
Response: solid waste
I don’t think the word “disingenuous” means what you think it means.
“Lacking in sincerity” is part of the definition. I’m not saying that about the strikers, but the photo does give an impression to me of seeing a bit of that.
The photo is a bad look that will cause some people to be skeptical of their claimed hardships – my opinion
some of these people have not seen each other in a long time for different reasons so yeah they are happy they get to reunite with old friends and workmates if you look at the ig posts and twitter posts that different actors post they show this
Oh sure, I get that. But they need to be more cognizant of the message they are sending with these happy-go-lucky group photos
I’m pretty sure that a.) they’re smiling for the camera because they were asked to do so, and b.) while I’m sure they are not happy about being on strike, the writer’s are probably quite happy that they have the ability to fight for what is fair, i.e. being apart of a union.
If that’s the case, then their union’s Public Affairs team has botched this in my opinion. This needs to like a strike, not a party.
So they should be looking miserable? I’m honestly not sure what point you’re trying to make.
Yeah, they need to look serious and a bit pissed off given what’s at stake. I’ve been to picket lines, and that’s what I usually see. It should not look like a party.
Whoever is doing their PR has made a big mistake here. The photos reinforce the INCORRECT perception by many in the general public that these are well off Hollywood types who are in the elite.
Oh, I think what takes the shine off the glee factor is time. This is still early days.
There are still lots of home loans on the line here, same as with folks in any strike, just that the mortages are a lot higher in cost.
(coming from someone who, with the brief exception of an ineptly and unethically constructed condo, has never owned anything bigger than a car in his life. Someone who was in a union for less than a year before his store was absorbed by a larger chain and liked the wages so he kept paying dues for months after the layoff, but he did not like that the union somehow managed to find zero job prospects for him to explore during that time. Even so, I still always saw their worth, especially given how uniformly unscrupulous I found employer behavior to be before and for decades after.)
100% agree, kmart.
I am a lifelong supporter of unions. My issue is the optics on this aren’t sending the right message so far.
Your use of “disingenuous” is a bit odd in this context.
It is a coincidence that right before the strike, the streaming industry have been all united sending the same message, crisis and financial losses.
It is interesting that the major content producers were all ready to bite the bullet of bad earnings calls, and share price falls in the same quarter just before a strike.
I think you’re right that even if there’s no collusion, there’s a similar strategy across the major companies in play to get all the bad communications out to the markets over with when it can also be used as leverage in a once-in-a-decade major round of negotiations.
It’s especially questionable given how entirely murky are the accounting practices of all the major entertainment firms. The entire sector is well deserving and long overdue some SEC investigations.
Paramount Global has used its own bad earnings call to finally cut its ridiculously large dividends, and restructure to a lower debt ratio and greater control by the Redstones.
Those had been a major source of cash flow for the Redstone family but unjustifiable when they were in a major strategic restructuring for the streaming reality. They also were attractive to some other longstanding investors who were treating it as a low-risk cash-cow stock.
Alway crucial to understand dividends as taking money out of a firm.
Liquidation and reducing cash-on-hand via dividends is a well-established way to fend off acquisition – at least it avoids being bought with your own money. It’s all for naught if the business fails though, and a particularly daft idea when a firm has large debts.
I also take note of the coincident lay off of 20% of US domestic employees as the company refocuses to production beyond the United States.
This was followed by a modest buyback of shares by the Redstones while the share price was at its nadir.
Now the Redstone family parent company has announced it has found an investment bank willing to lend them $125 million to pay off their major poison-pill debts through their parent company National Amusements.
It all has the flavour of a well orchestrated plan. One has to give Shari Redstone credit for a certain ruthlessness driving through the changes in quick succession.
Still impossible to understand what Sumner Redstone thought he was doing when he split CBS and Viacom, but the damage rolls on.
That may be true, but one of the only reasons a lot of investors were attracted to the crappy paramount stock was the high dividends. So now the stock price is tanked and it will not be as attractive for future investors… and that’s not good for Star Trek or other programming or the movies
Thanks for the informative overview. I work in the space that might be called “finance for dummies” (I do the company payroll), and it’s obvious that your knowledge of these things far exceeds mine. But it’s also obvious that at the basic level it all comes down to the same soul-rotting insatiable greed as always. Quick “Succession,” indeed.
Fact — there’s been a major drop the past year in the subscription growth of these services and some have suffered losses in subscribership. The markets of course react to this and the companies of course will streamline. This is a classic economic bubble bursting for a new industry that was over leveraged with investors. It is what it is.
That’s not to say they’re not overdoing the Doom and gloom to position themselves against the union here. But no, there are core business/financial issues that have led to this.
Good. I claim no particular knowledge as to the current financial challenges regarding streaming and digital content. But the studios continue overall to reap huge profits nevertheless, and quote Harlan Ellison, if they have the money to hang artwork on the walls and to send the children of their executives to fancy prep schools, then they should have it to fairly compensate their writers, without whom literally nothing else would be possible. For all the talk of liberalism and wokeness in Hollywood, concentration of wealth in the entertainment industry is frankly obscene. It has to stop there, and elsewhere, or production delays for our favorite shows will be the least of our problems.
I miss Harlan. He did a lot for writers.
Wish I could upvote this. Didn’t this site add that feature yesterday, only for it to disappear again this morning?
Thanks, man. Truly, this is a way bigger issue than one just affecting Hollywood scribes, including those who still manage to earn fabulous livings. I see it every day where I work, a small medical company that does some good work but where employees **who see patients** are paid Burger King-level wages while executives pull down huge salaries and bonuses at year-end. That needs to change, though I don’t see how that happens while voters allow themselves to be distracted by bright and shiny objects like critical race theory and drag queen story hour. I’m blessed to own my own small home free and clear in a very expensive market, will be retiring in a few short weeks, and wish the country’s yute much luck in getting it all sorted-out.
So which streaming services are reaping huge profits over the last year?
I addressed that issue earlier. Aside from divining the validity of a strike action by gauging the facial expressions of its participants, do you care to respond, or are you just intent on wasting my time? Be advised that if it’s the latter, I’m not playing.
OK, I’ll go back and look. I respect your opinion. When you used the word “continue” on the studios profits, I do not believe that to be accurate over the last year, that’s all.
Decks&Necks, I am genuinely surprised by your insistence on looking only at reported earnings drops, especially reports that the streaming portions of the businesses are not yet profitable.
Yes, audited financial data should be reliable, but in large, complex firms in changing industries it’s insufficient.
Why should we discount those claims of losses or at least their importance?
First, companies that own major IPs and content libraries are at risk of being bought with their own money. Basic 1980s merger & acquisition behaviour.
So, they have to liquidate any excess cash through high dividends or use their money and more to expand into a new business line. The other option is to take on ‘poison pills’ such as high debt loads, and/or consolidate themselves which Paramount and others have already done.
Second, lower profits or even losses are to be expected in a new and expanding business. High profits would be a signal of inadequate reinvestment in the new business.
That’s why up till now investors have rewarded firms reinvesting in streamers with higher share prices.
However, we’re now in a situation where due to an overall economic slowdown ad revenue is down. So to keep investing, the dividend payouts have to be cut and debt load has to be reduced. Markets are punishing the firms during the correction, but it was an inevitable correction. It doesn’t say much about the future.
Third, entertainment industry accounting and asset management practices are notoriously murky. Roddenberry himself was not paid his share of profits for a long time because Paramount claimed the franchise was always in the red. It took legal action to see the books and prove profits were actually being hidden.
This is an oversight problem by securities regulators but they have happened before. Classic example – the failures of Eastern and Continental Airlines. When the lenders seized the airplanes that were collateral, they had no value. The companies had not actually maintained them and the airframes were shot.
All together, the industry is attempting to use a moment of correction as bargaining leverage. That’s how bargaining works.
As outsiders, I agree we need to recognize that both sides are signalling in their own interest.
What we should understand is that the companies are trying to use short term bad news to lock in ten year contract that will devastate those at the bottom of the income ladder. That will actually be unhelpful for the sustainability of the industry in the US.
Actually, I don’t really disagree with any of this.
Hmm, an upvoting and downvoting feature for the comments section? Is that really going to help things?
It appears to have gone away again this morning.
Looks like it was a one-day-only event. 😁
They should have kept it till the end of the month and then yanked it, so there’d be additional reason to note Memorial Day.
Phew! That’s a one-way ticket to Lurksville for me.
We’ll at least we won’t have to see those two cats who always agree on the major staff and who always backup each other up (and jointly pile on other fans) vote up each other’s posts constantly….lol
Yeah it’s very strange it only lasted a day but that’s good news. They just do more harm than good IMO unless you’re a much bigger board. And I remembered when they had it here back in 2016. It only lasted a few weeks and it didn’t make anyone happy lol.
You mean you would not enjoy downvoting most of my posts? (-;
Easy come, easy go. I suppose folks could just comment TU or TD.
Since the new Star Trek shows are on hold, maybe they could go back to the old shows and start to remaster the rest of them…they can’t postpone that forever.
Yes, please! What an awesome idea!
If the streaming services are as cash-strapped as they claim, that probably decreases the chance of getting a remaster anytime soon.
New shows (which are on hold right now) mean new content. Remastering does not bring new content, it “only” upgrades old content to a better quality. All of the Trek shows are currently streaming on Paramount Plus. People can (and do) watch them. I’m just not sure how many new subscribers they would potentially get by replacing DS9 and VOY with versions that look better. Sure, some of us hardcore fans would be very happy about it. But I don’t know how far that scales up.
Sorry about being a downer. I’d like to get those shows in HD, too.
It’s a technique to stem subscriber churn, especially if HD Trek is exclusive to Paramount+ for years, but it’s true that’s a secondary goal next to new subscribers, and beancounters will argue the new shows keep us as subscribers AND have a better chance of getting new ones. And while eventual blu-ray sales are gravy, TNG proved they won’t be particularly noteworthy.
We can keep arguing that spending $60 million to remaster DS9 and Voyager is nothing compared to what Disco, Halo, or 1923 costs, but this is just not the environment for this kind of a move right now. We’re lucky we got TMP-DE in 4K.
I’ve always claimed that the day DS9 get remastered to BD is the day I buy the discs.
Although at this point that does not look likely to happen.
Also agree with others! :)