Barry Diller Warns Hollywood Faces ‘Absolute Collapse,’ Says Top Actors and Execs Should Take 25% Pay Cut

The former Paramount and Fox chief believes studios must resolve the strike by writers and actors guilds by the end of August

Former Paramount and 20th Century Fox CEO Barry Diller did not hold back during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” issuing a bleak warning to Hollywood that the entertainment industry faces an “absolute collapse” if the double strike by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA is not resolved soon.

“What will happen is, if in fact, it doesn’t get settled until Christmas or so, then next year, there’s not going to be many programs for anybody to watch. So, you’re gonna see subscriptions get pulled, which is going to reduce the revenue of all these movie companies, television companies, the result of which is that there will be no programs,” Diller told host Margaret Brennan. “And at just the time, strike is settled that you want to get back up, there won’t be enough money.”

Diller, who currently serves as chairman of holding company IAC and Expedia Group, says that the unions and studios, through their labor representatives Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, should agree to reach a settlement by September 1.

“The truth is, this is a huge business both domestically and for world export,” he said. “It sounds like I’m crying to the skies. But these conditions will potentially produce an absolute collapse of an entire industry.”

SAG-AFTRA joined the Writers Guild on the picket lines on Friday after five weeks of talks failed to produce a deal, with several key sticking points such as whether to tie streaming viewership data to residuals and terms on consent and compensation for use of performers’ likeness in artificial intelligence.

Diller believes that fears that AI will replace writers and actors are “overhyped to death,” but acknowledged that another major factor in these strikes has been the growing inability of working class creatives and employees in Hollywood to make ends meet while top executives and actors get paid millions annually.

“You have the actors union, saying, “How dare these 10 people who run these companies earn all this money and won’t pay us?” While if you look at it on the other side, the top ten actors get paid more than the top ten executives. I’m not saying either is right. Actually, everybody’s probably overpaid at the top end,” he said.

“The one idea I had is to say, as a good faith measure, both the executives and the most paid actors should take a 25% pay cut, to try and narrow-narrow the difference between those who get highly paid and those that don’t,” Diller added.

Watch Diller’s full interview on “Face the Nation” in the clip above.