1988 Writers Guild of America strike

The 1988 Writers Guild of America strike was a strike action taken by members of both the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW). It ran from March 7 to August 7, 1988, for a total of Age in weeks and days|day1=7|month1=3|year1=1988|day2=7|month2=8|year2=1988. Productions affected were television and movies.

It was the longest writers' strike in history, surpassing the 1960 Writers Guild of America strike by one week.

ummary

The strike started on March 7, 1988. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE3D7143AF934A35750C0A96E948260 Strike Announced By Writers For TV] , "New York Times", March 7 1988] The main disagreements in contract talks concerned reduced residuals for hour-long shows, along with reduced pay for reruns of television shows in foreign countries. [ [http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119482950368089597.html This Writers' Strike Feels Like a Rerun From 1988] , "The Wall Street Journal", November 12, 2007] The strike lasted for five months before ending on August 8 1988. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE3DC113BF93BA3575BC0A96E948260 Writers Ratify Contract, Ending Longest Strike] , "New York Times", August 8 1988] Over 9,000 movie and television writers had been on strike.

Television

Networks were forced to hold back their fall scheduling until the winter period. The strike significantly shrunk average television audiences, and has had a lasting effect to this day.Fact|date=November 2007

The second season finale of "" entitled "" was a clip show as the bulk of this episode is composed of footage from previous "TNG" episodes; this is generally considered the worst episode produced in the franchise's 40+ year history. [ [http://www.geos.tv/index.php/statistics/tng/047 geos.tv] ]

Soap operas continued to air during the strike. However, without experienced script writers many suffered in quality. At first most stories were dragged out for as long as possible, then plots lurched forward that did not leave shows in the best of shape.Fact|date=November 2007

After weeks of reruns, both Johnny Carson and later David Letterman crossed the picket line and resumed their shows, sans writers. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7078335.stm news.bbc.co.uk] ] [ [http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2007-11-05-writers-strike-main_N.htm usatoday.com/life] ]

The strike did not, as some later claimed, lead to the advent of reality television, though it was responsible for the launch of the long-running series "Cops" on the FOX television network. ["The ... '88 Writers Guild of America walkout ... didn't unleash a flood of reality, because filming on sitcoms and dramas had largely wrapped and because alternative shows had yet to become a trend." [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071127/ap_en_tv/ap_on_tv_reality_strikes_5 Writers strike means reality boom times] Yahoo! News 27 November 2007.]

"" was relaunched as a series, reworking old episode scripts with a new cast.

Cancellations

The cancellations of "Moonlighting" ["Moonlighting" never recovered after going off the air during the 1988 strike." [http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-fi-strikeblow28oct28,1,4636205.story?track=rss&ctrack=1&cset=true Hollywood bracing for a writers strike] "Los Angeles Times" 28 October 2007. Subscription required.] and "Kate & Allie" Fact|date=November 2007 have been attributed in part to audience loss stemming from the shows' long hiatuses due to the writers' strike.

Films

The horror film "" narrowly avoided the strike. Writer Alan B. McElroy had only 11 days in which to come up with the film's story and subsequently write the script. McElroy did just this and managed to turn the script in just hours before the strike commenced. ["Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers", DVD Feature: "Halloween 4 "Final Cut". Anchor Bay.]

The 1989 movie "Earth Girls Are Easy" was filmed during this strike; co-writer Charlie Coffey did not appear in the movie due to being on the picket lines.Fact|date=November 2007

According to the Ultimate James Bond DVD Collection, the movie "Licence to Kill", starring Timothy Dalton, lost one of its co-writers, Richard Maibaum, forcing his partner Michael G. Wilson to finish the screenplay on his own. Fact|date=November 2007

Sam Hamm turned in his script for 1989's "Batman" just days before the writer's strike began, and was unable to write further drafts due to his involvement. Director Tim Burton and others liked the script, but thought "something" was missing. As such he brought in "Beetlejuice" co-writers Warren Skaaren and Charles McKeown for rewrite work.Fact|date=December 2007 Jonathan Gems did a few weeks worth of rewriting as well. [Salisbury, Burton, p.145] All three were British as just about every single writer in America was on strike. Their draft introduced the Joker's role as the killer of Bruce Wayne's parents, a revelation Burton wanted from the beginning. Hamm, staying true to the source material, had refused to use the idea.Fact|date=December 2007 One of the primary reasons as to why the filmmakers brought in McKeown was that they felt he could come up with more creative jokes for The Joker.Salisbury, Burton, p.78-80]

ee also

* International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG)
* WGA screenwriting credit system
* WGA script registration service
* 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike
* List of Hollywood strikes

References


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