Paramount CEO Bob Bakish Expects ‘Some Disruption’ From Hollywood Writers’ Strike

The media chief told analysts and investors the company has “many levers” to pull and is “confident in our ability to manage through it”

WGA Strike 2023, NYC (Lucas Manfredi for TheWrap)

Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish briefly addressed the Hollywood writers’ strike during the media giant’s first-quarter earnings call for 2023 on Thursday.

“While the writers’ strike may cause some disruption, we are confident in our ability to manage through it,” he said. “Given the many levers we have to pull, we will continue to deploy content across platforms in an efficient way from theatrical movies that create revenue at the box office then move to Paramount+ to CBS entertainment, news and sports content which drives massive reach and engagement in broadcast and in streaming and more.”

Bakish emphasized that the company has “a lot of content in the can,” as well as a broad range of unscripted and reality programming and sports which will be unaffected by the strike. Additionally, Paramount will leverage offshore production and its large library of content to fill its programming schedule, Bakish said.

He noted that “consumers really won’t notice anything for a while” with the exception of late-night programming. Though the financial impact “ultimately depends on duration of strike,” Bakish said the company is currently expecting it to be “slightly dilutive to revenue” while lowering the company’s cash spending.

“Writers are an essential part of creating content that our audiences enjoy really across platforms and we hope we can come to a resolution that works for everyone fairly quickly,” he added.

The Writers Guild of America is going on strike for the first time since November 2007 after the group was unable to reach a deal in contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers before Monday’s contract expiration. Picketing began in New York City and Los Angeles on Tuesday.

The strike involves a long list of concerns that the writers want Hollywood studios to address, from the low pay involved in writing streaming series to reining in “mini-rooms” used to skirt contractual pay practices to addressing the use of artificial intelligence.

For all of TheWrap’s WGA strike coverage, click here.