Good Question: Why can some shows run new episodes amid the screenwriters strike?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Why are some shows still running new episodes amid the screenwriters strike?

Screenwriters from the Writers Guild of America are into the second week of a strike demanding fair wages, especially for writing content on programs that air on streaming services. Screenwriters in Hollywood and New York City have been on strike since May 2.

A Tweet from a Writer’s Guild member has gotten a lot of attention on social media, saying “in case anyone’s wondering why the WGA is on strike, this is my streaming residual check for two episodes of Jane the Virgin. One for .01 Another for .02.”

Viewers are already seeing an impact. For example, if you watch Saturday Night Live on NBC, you might have noticed there were no new episodes last weekend. The show has announced that it will end the season early as a result of the strike.

But not all shows are affected and one of you asked us why. Marc writes: “I am curious as to why some shows are completely stopped (example, Days of our Lives), even though it’s taped many months ahead of time, while other shows are still running new episodes.”

Soap operas like Days of our Lives typically shoot in advance but it’s possible that, in the time since the strike began, they have already aired all new pre-shot episodes.

Meanwhile, some shows appear unaffected. Daytime talk shows like Kelly and Mark, for example, are not usually scripted, so they continue to put out new episodes.

The last two writers’ strikes in 2007 and 1988 lasted longer than 100 days. In 2007, it’s estimated that the industry suffered a $2 billion fallout. Experts believe, depending on how long this strike lasts, the financial fallout could be even worse.

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