Hosts of daytime talk shows such as Drew Barrymore have recently received backlash for attempting to resume production of their shows amid the ongoing Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) strikes. Meanwhile, the talk show “The View” has not stopped production despite the strikes. While the strikes have halted production on most films and television shows, why are so many daytime television talk shows looking to begin filming again?
Though late-night talk shows have stopped production in adherence to the strike, these shows have direct contracts with the networks they are aired on. For instance, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” has a contract with ABC, while “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” has a deal with NBC, and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” has a contract with CBS. Daytime talk shows, on the other hand, typically have syndication deals.
A syndication deal is an agreement where content, such as television shows, is licensed or distributed to multiple media outlets or platforms for publication or broadcast. The goal of a syndication deal is to reach a wider audience and generate additional revenue for the content creator or owner. Syndication deals are usually between the daytime talk shows and media production companies. Talk shows that have syndication deals generally must deliver between 35 to 40 weeks of new episodes to the station partners across the country that air the shows. If the talk shows do not deliver the new content, then they risk the possibility of the show getting canceled. So, if the strikes continue for much longer, syndicated daytime talk shows that are currently on hold may soon need to resume production in order to fulfill their contracts and keep everyone’s jobs intact.
This is not the first time that daytime talk shows have attempted or resumed production of the shows during a strike in the entertainment industry. When the writers were on strike in 2007, popular talk show hosts, including Oprah Winfrey, Rachael Ray, Dr. Phil, and Ellen DeGeneres, continued production of their shows. These talk shows cited similar concerns as the daytime shows are claiming now – concern for their crews who were out of work and looming syndication deals that needed to be fulfilled.
While these daytime talk shows may be forced to resume production sooner rather than later, this does not mean that the shows cannot be in compliance with the strikes. Many, including “Drew,” “The View,” “Jennifer Hudson,” and “The Talk” are returning without their WGA member writers. The WGA writers will return to productions once a new WGA contract is in place. Many daytime talk shows have also temporarily eliminated the use of monologues and sketch elements in the shows as these are largely created by WGA writers. Similarly, the hosts of these shows who are SAG members have been cleared by the union to continue their hosting responsibilities.
Daytime talk shows are currently stuck between a rock and a hard place as they try to fulfill their syndication deals and remain in support of the entertainment strikes. However, there are ways to resume production and continue supporting these movements. Contact us to speak with an experienced attorney and learn more.