Jason Sudeikis, Brett Goldstein
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Awards Emmy Season One Week Into WGA Strike: Business as Unusual

Emmy Season One Week Into WGA Strike: Business as Unusual

Jason Sudeikis, Brett Goldstein

“Thank you to the writers,” exclaimed Jason Sudeikis, on stage with much of the cast and creative team behind “Ted Lasso” for a fan event that would have kicked off the opening of the “Think Apple TV + FYC “. “What a day to do this.”

A few hours later, at the stroke of midnight on May 2, the Writers Guild of America reportedly decided to officially go on strike, calling on its nationwide members to impose a work stoppage. However, it wasn’t clear until the following afternoon what the guidance was for attending the For Your Consideration events meant to highlight the work they’ve already done this TV season.

The union’s conclusion in terms of members attending film festivals or FYC events for a film or show they wrote about, as published in the WGA Strike Rules FAQwas “You should let the Society know that you are prohibited from making these promotional appearances on your work until the strike is over.”

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While the perpetrators remain a united front (after all, the strike was authorized by a record 97.9% of members), the decision not to attend FYC events looks a bit polarizing from the outside. Sure, through a loupe, it’s a no-brainer that sitting at a panel inside an Apple-paid event space counts as entering the premises of an affected company, an act prohibited by the strike rules. But through another lens, it feels like a missed opportunity not to take advantage of stage time to explain how these Emmy-nominated series would never have been able to come together without the writers.

As soon as that Tuesday night, May 2, at the FYC event for the Prime Video limited series “Swarm,” which takes place within the Amazon-funded Prime Experience space, hints had already begun of how the strike has impacted the Emmy campaign. Host Angelique Jackson, Senior Entertainment Writer at Variety, preceded her planned one-on-one conversation with star Dominique Fishback by reading a written statement from “Swarm” co-creator, executive producer and showrunner Janine Nabers, who said, “I’m tonight I’m not present because I am in solidarity with the WGA”.

The note received enthusiastic applause from the audience composed mostly of Emmy voters, who are TV professionals themselves, as well as Fishback’s response to the statement, saying “I support all artists who stand up for what they deserve 100%.” . The following night, during a fireside chat after receiving a BAFTA Special Award in New York, senior television producer and “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” showrunner Shonda Rhimes added her voice to the cause, emphatically saying “ I’m a writer on strike now,” when asked to consider the situation.

As the pickets popped up around Hollywood, the Television Academy decided to give its partners the option to proceed with the pre-planned FYC event as-is, edit or cancel the panel portion of the event, or cancel the event entirely without a penalty. Only “The Problem with Jon Stewart” and “John Mulaney: Baby J” were canceled outright, which makes sense given both comedians’ intimate ties to the writing community. Slowly but surely, other shows like Apple TV+’s “Mythic Quest” have chosen not to move forward with their FYC events.

But for the most part, For Your Consideration events have fumbled without the involvement of the writers who created and/or ran the show. Friday’s event for contestant to Netflix’s Outstanding Animated Show ‘Entergalactic’, which served as a kickoff for the streaming service’s FYSEE ’23 event space and programming, ended up canceling the panel that he had planned with co-creator/star Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi and an assortment of behind-the-scenes talent involved in making the project happen, but they still screened the 90-minute televised event to a packed audience, with one person he heard he felt good energy in the room.

Now, if a panel does occur, the lineup is usually any actor who is in town and had no involvement in writing the show, a producer who doesn’t write (e.g. “Lord of the Rings: The Ring of Power EP JA Bayona , who directed the first two episodes of the Prime Video series), and a select group of craftsmen who worked on the series. During the conversation, they often praise the show’s writers, but it has begun to seem that the word “strike” is taboo.

If there was cause for major alarm this past week, it was the spate of summer award shows announcing some form of restructuring or postponement. Drew Barrymore stepped down from hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards in solidarity with the WGA, days before the live show was due to take place, led to a quick Sunday telecast that pieced together sketches that the daytime talk show host he had already recorded winners acceptance speeches sent from home. The following Monday, the American Film Institute announced that its June 10 gala honoring actress Nicole Kidman with a Life Achievement Award, an event often recorded and edited into a later airing television special, was postponed indefinitely.

Although the 75th Primetime Emmys aren’t scheduled until Sept. 18, the hosted live telecast takes months to schedule and requires a writers room. Asked if there is a deadline by which a decision will be made to restructure or cancel the upcoming Emmys telecast, the Television Academy said in a statement to IndieWire, “Like everyone, we hope these negotiations are resolved quickly, amicably and fairly. We will answer any questions about the Emmys as we get closer to the ceremonies. As the For Your Consideration events go ahead as usual, there is an increasing chance that the awards they seek could be announced via press release.

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