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    The actors strike is over — what now?
    • November 10, 2023

    Nina Metz | Chicago Tribune (TNS)

    Union negotiators representing TV and film actors have agreed to a new contract with the studios, putting an end to a strike that began in July.

    The entire membership will have to vote to approve it before it’s official. But with the Writers Guild of America ending its own four-month strike in September, the picket lines are over, clearing the path for everyone to return to work, including crew, who also saw their jobs paused during the two strikes. What happens now?


    Looking to have new episodes ready to go after the first of the year, broadcast network sitcoms and dramas will be ramping up quickly. According to “Just minutes after the end of the strike was announced, casts and crews started receiving notifications for tentative start dates in late November and early December.”

    A half-season is typically around 13 episodes. But Deadline is also reporting that “Wolf Entertainment crime procedurals (which include the One Chicago shows on NBC such as “Chicago Fire”) were aiming at doing more than 13, with 15 (episodes) a number circulated, and ABC and Warner Bros. TV were in a tussle over ‘Abbott Elementary,’ with ABC asking for 13 and the studio pushing for 17.”

    There may be less of a frenzied rush for streaming shows. Or not. With filming on hold for most shows over the last six months, there will be pressure to get shows up and running in order to have a steady supply of premieres throughout 2024. Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” among many others, had to pause midway through shooting its new season when the strikes began.


    As for the summer movie slate, the extended work stoppage has created real anxiety for studio executives and movie theater owners. It’s too early to know which titles will be completed in time, but there is reason to be optimistic. “Deadpool 3,” starring Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman, was halfway through shooting when it shut down. Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice” sequel and Clint Eastwood’s “Juror No. 2″are nearly finished.

    Actor interviews

    Actors were prohibited from doing interviews about any past, present or future projects during the strike. I’m sure their personal publicists, as well as studio and network PR people, are breathing a sigh of relief that stars can now get back to selling. Especially now that we’re staring down Oscar season. (Woe to all the authors who had been filling those interview slots on the morning shows. Memo to TV: Continue to spotlight writers!)

    Upcoming contract issues

    The guilds representing actors, writers and directors have signed new contracts with the studios, but the latter will have to contend with other areas of the industry sooner than later.

    In September, Marvel VFX artists voted to unionize. There is growing interest among reality TV cast and crew to unionize. And the contracts the studios have with the Animation Guild as well as IATSE, the union that represents most crew members, expire next year.


    (Nina Metz is a Chicago Tribune critic who covers TV and film.)

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