Another Hollywood writers strike could be on the horizon


It's déjà vu in Hollywood. Movie and TV writers are threatening to go on strike again.

The Writers Guild of America's current contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers ends May 1. If a new deal isn't made by then, work could stop the next day.

Not surprisingly, the writers want a raise. Studios are making fewer movies. And while cable networks are producing more shows, they're keeping seasons shorter with only 10 to 13 episodes.

TV writers are paid by the episode, and they typically are not writing every episode of a series. But many networks put an exclusivity clause into writers' contracts, so they aren't allowed to write for multiple shows at one time and earn more money.

The Writers Guild also wants streaming services like Netflix and Amazon to pay their writers residuals that are more on par with the networks. Residuals are fees writers get when a show they wrote runs again.

The guild also wants networks and studios to contribute more to its health plan.

SEE MORE: Cannes Welcomes Another Streaming Service To Its Film Lineup

Back in late 2007, members of the WGA went on strike for 100 days. So, TV shows like "30 Rock" and "Bones" aired shorter seasons, and late-night talk shows like "Late Night with David Letterman" aired reruns. Analysts estimated the strike dealt a $2.5 billion blow to Los Angeles' economy.

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David Letterman, Late Night, through the years
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David Letterman, Late Night, through the years
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: US Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore (R) with talk show host David Letterman 14 September, 2000 after the taping of Letterman's show at the Sullivan Theater in New York City. AFP PHOTO/ Luke FRAZZA (Photo credit should read LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: Republican presidental candidate and Texas Governor George W. Bush (L) poses for photographers with David Letterman after concluding taping of the 19 October 2000 Late Show with David Letterman in New York. Bush read the Top Ten list poking fun at what he might do if elected. AFP Photo by Paul J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - DECEMBER 24: In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, 'Late Show' television host David Letterman entertains soldiers at the Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters December 24, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo by Reynaldo Ramon/U.S. Air Force via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 7: Tina Fey takes off her dress after her last appearance on the CBS Late Show with David Letterman, Thursday May 7, 2015 on the CBS Television Network (Photo by John Paul Filo/CBS via Getty Images)
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A strike this time around could mean more unscripted reality shows and postponed fall TV premieres. Production for new seasons typically starts in May or June.

Fans of cable and streaming network shows have less to worry about. Many upcoming seasons, like Netflix's "Stranger Things," are already written.

As for the movie industry, films with unfinished scripts could be put on hold.

Writers Guild members have until April 24 to vote on a strike if there's no new contract deal by the beginning of May.

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