The contract for television and film writers has expired without an indication of whether a strike is imminent that could send some popular TV shows into immediate reruns.
The Writers Guild of America and producers have been negotiating since March 13, with health care and compensation at the center of the on-and-off contract talks. The current deal expired at just after midnight Tuesday.
Guild members voted overwhelmingly last month to authorize a strike, and the WGA could call for an immediate walkout Tuesday. But no official communication came from either side indicating the next move.
If the Guild, which represents those who write for TV and film, can’t reach a new contract or agree to extend the negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, the writers will go out on strike for the first time in nearly a decade.
Over the weekend and throughout Monday, there had been conflicting reports — which ranged from optimism about an imminent deal to reports of a memo telling writers to plan on hitting the picket lines Tuesday — but little concrete news.
Representatives for the writers and producers are engaged in a media blackout, meaning it is unclear how far apart the sides remain or how likely a strike will be called.
At the heart of the impasse between writers and producers are issues such as the union’s health plan, which faces a deficit, its pension plan and provisions for paying writers what they believe they should get in a landscape that has changed dramatically in recent years with shortening of seasons from 20-plus episodes to 10 or 13, cutting the amount of money they’ve received under per-episode paychecks.
In 2007 and early 2008, a 100-day writers strike halted productions on numerous shows, led to a shortened television season and even affected major film releases.
The dispute is driven in large part by shifts in how television is consumed, with streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon joining broadcast and cable TV and garnering viewers, critical and audience love, and awards.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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