How a writers' strike might affect your favourite TV shows

There's a battle going on between writers and entertainment studios that may affect your television viewing.

Members of the Writers Guild of America went on strike as of midnight Monday (US time) because they couldn't reach a new contract agreement with studios as the industry shifts more to streaming.

Here's where audiences may see an impact due to productions being halted.

More reality TV?

The last WGA strike ran for 100 days from 2007 to 2008. During that time, networks leaned more heavily on unscripted shows which do not fall under the purvey of the the Writers Guild.

Programmes like Big Brother, and Celebrity Apprentice helped to fill the gap of scripted shows whose productions paused during the strike. The same could happen this time around on linear TV.

If you have an idea for a new reality show, now might be the time to try and pitch it.

Late-night US TV shows get hit first

The comedy shows that help us wrap up our days, like Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, would be the first to go dark as they depend upon writers for everything from opening monologues to skits and celeb interviews.

Likewise, for variety shows such as Saturday Night Live.

If past is precedent, you will see reruns in place of live shows.

Scripted comedies and dramas

Many shows on both linear and streaming platforms work far enough ahead that new episodes are already written.

That means a strike would have to run for awhile before viewers star missing their shows. Some platforms, like Netflix, have promised they'll be able to offer new TV shows and movies for quite some time.

"We really don't want this to happen. But we have to make plans for the worst," Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos said last month

 "We have a pretty robust slate of releases to take us into a long time but just be just be clear, we're at the table and we're going to try to get to an equitable solution so there isn't a strike."

The streaming effect

A major change between the end of the strike in 2008 and now is the preponderance of streaming services (Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+, Peacock etc.) with a multitude of shows and movies available.

HBO Max is promising more new content with a relaunch as Max in the US on May 23.

"We are ready to go guns blazing in terms of our product and our platforms around the world," Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said at a recent event. (HBO and CNN are both part of Warner Bros. Discovery.)

For that reason, audiences will have less of an opportunity this time around to complain that there is nothing to watch if a strike does occur.

If you have a long list of series you haven't yet found the time to watch, a strike might offer some viewers an opportunity to catch up.