While much of the television industry could become upended by the Writers Guild of America strike, one area that appears to be unaffected is kids programming in non-commercial public television.
“[The strike] isn’t really affecting us right now because as non-commercial public television, we don’t have the same structure, like residuals, all of those kinds of things,” PBS Kids head Sara DeWitt told TheWrap. “So we have a different kind of deal with our writers and they know coming into it that public media is different, that there isn’t that same commercial engine driving it.”
The WGA is on strike for the first time since 2008 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.
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. Picketing began in New York City and Los Angeles on Tuesday.
DeWitt emphasized that PBS Kids is a “very creator-driven network.”
“We really believe in that creative power of those writers and we want to make sure that they have the resources and the opportunities to do the kind of work that is going to be best for kids,” she added. “So I think we’re really trying to be as supportive as possible to our writers and really paying attention to what’s happening right now.”
PBS, which has more than 330 member stations, reaches over 42 million adults on linear primetime television, more than 15 million users on PBS-owned streaming platforms and 56 million people view PBS content on social media.
For all of TheWrap’s WGA strike coverage, click here.