From Billions to Severance: Some of Your Favorite Shows are Already Seeing Significant Delays Due to the WGA Strike
by Grant Rindner | GQ Magazine | May 12, 2023
The ongoing writers strike may seem, at first glance, like a much bigger deal to the writers affected than to the average TV watcher. The longer it goes on, however, the greater the chances that one of your favorite shows could be among those disrupted. That’s how a strike works, after all, meant to show that “business as usual” is impossible without the contributions of the striking workers. Some of television’s biggest shows have already been affected. Since the Writers Guild of America’s strike was officially authorized on May 2, with Severance, Stranger Things, and the latest Game of Thrones spinoff among the shows being halted or otherwise directly impacted.
Issues motivating the strike are complex, but hinge in part on the industry’s move into streaming, and writers’ ensuing demands for contracts that reflect the new television paradigm. As GQ has covered, streaming doesn’t provide the same continuing residuals that have represented a writer’s “gold ring” for decades. The last writers strike took place in 2007, a time before streaming became the dominant method of distribution, and the WGA is also working to get protections related to the nascent use of AI in television writing.
“The studios have devalued our contributions,” Abbott Elementary writer Brittani Nichols told Democracy Now on May 2. “They have shifted the industry to prioritize streaming, without making sure that our pay reflects those changes.”
Below is a list of the major TV shows whose production is being affected by the writers strike. This list will be updated as more delays take effect.
A dramatic May 4 picket successfully halted production on the long-running finance drama Billions. The Showtime hit, which was filming a new season set to showcase the dramatic return of original co-lead Damian Lewis, has been a focus for New York-based strikers and the WGA East, with assistance from other unions like IATSE and the teamsters.
WGA Strike: NYC Pickets Shut Down ‘Billions,’ Again
Writers Guild of America EAST
by Dominic Patten | Deadline | May 10, 2023
For the second time in a week, the Writers Guild of America has shuttered Billions.
Staking out sites in New York City’s Chelsea and Williamsburg neighborhoods, the striking scribes prevented the Wall Street drama from setting up for planned location shoots. There were about 100 WGA members and supporters at each location, including WGA member Amy Schumer in Brooklyn and Edie Falco in Manhattan.
“We just shut down Billions,” a WGA member screamed out earlier this afternoon as fellow picketers cheered – as you can see below.
— Melissa Navia (@melissaCnavia) May 10, 2023
— Avishai ✡ Is On Strike (@avishaiw) May 10, 2023
📍Cine Magic East River Studios
11 Kent St
— Lawrence Wang (@ltothewang) May 10, 2023
Having lost a day Wednesday, it is unknown when Billions will start up again. Right now, it is an ASAP situation, I’m told.
Admittedly targeted by the WGA East, the Brian Koppelman, David Levien and Andrew Ross Sorkin created series was previously unplugged for several hours on May 4 by the guild. On that occasion, Billions cast and crew members initially refused to cross the picket line outside Seret Studios in Brooklyn. The next day, the Showtime series was in the union spotlight again, this time in Manhattan where Billions was filming. While the May 5 picketing didn’t shut the Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff, Corey Stoll and Damian Lewis-led show down, it certainly put them on notice.
The attempted on-site shoot near 26th and 11th close to the Chelsea Piers Golf Club was near where Billions had been filming on May 5 — this time with a different outcome.
Earlier Wednesday, the WGA East sent out a call on social media for more bodies to join the Williamsburg action. A call-out that garnered a fast and large response, sources tell me.
PICKET ALERT: “Billions” is waiting for our picket line to leave so they can shoot at 2 locations: 1. 33 Kent St Brooklyn /// 2. 26th St at 11 Ave Manhattan. Folks have been out here since early morning. Captains needed in Brooklyn also. Please come out if you can!!
— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) May 10, 2023
Thought significantly smaller than the WGA West, the approximately 4,700-strong WGA East has been strategically effective since the scribes’ strike started on May 2 in identifying on-going high-profile productions and putting the pressure on. Along with Billions and the postponed Daredevil: Born Again, the likes of Ryan Murphy’s latest American Horror Story installment has been among the productions witnessing a constant NYC picketing presence in recent days, as have venues housing the HBO and Amazon.
Showtime parent company Paramount Global could not be reached for comment on the latest Billions shut down. If or when we hear from them, we will update this post. Meanwhile, back on Billions, spinoffs are in the offering, but the seventh season does look set to be the show’s last — if they can finish it.