How the WGA Crisis Has Rocked the TV Business: ‘Best Staffing Season in Years’ or ‘Complete S– Show’

Pilots will give way to series in about two weeks — and they’ll need writers, who no longer have agents

With no sign of resolution on the horizon in the ongoing dispute between Hollywood writers and their agents, the newly unrepresented community of thousands of writers has turned out en masse to help each other through the current broadcast TV staffing season, the mad-dash period each year when hundreds of jobs come up for grabs.

All parties agree that those jobs will necessarily get filled and that many writers will be able to find work, but what no one can say for sure is, once this staffing season is over, what comes next?

The coming weeks represent a critical time for the TV industry. Ahead of their respective upfront events in the first weeks of May — see Stephen Colbert (above) celebrating back in 2017, a simpler time — each broadcast network will order 10 to 12 new series apiece, and each of those shows will have to hire a staff of six to 10 writers almost immediately.

Compounded with staff turnover on existing shows, that leads to a very condensed three- or four-week period with tons of jobs open and not much time to close deals. Writers’ rooms can start up as early as June 1 for new shows…

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Tony Maglio

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TV Editor • tony.maglio@thewrap.com • @tonymaglio