Many of Your Favorite Shows Were Finished Before the WGA Strike

But if this work stoppage lasts as long as the last one, that will not remain the case.
"Never Have I Ever," "House of the Dragon," and "The Bachelorette"
"Never Have I Ever," "House of the Dragon," and "The Bachelorette"
Photos courtesy of Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery, and ABC

Don’t cancel your Netflix subscription over fears the WGA strike will create a dearth of new content — at least, not yet. (If you choose to cancel your Netflix membership in solidarity with those like “Law & Order: SVU” and “In Treatment” showrunner Warren Leight, who is calling for a “digital picket line,” go right ahead.)

“I’m canceling my Netflix account until a deal is reached,” Leight wrote on social media with the hashtag #CancelNetflixandChill. “And telling them why.”

(A quick explainer on the “why” there: Streaming shortened the average length of series-writing gigs, causing a reduction in workdays. Streaming also does not offer residuals in the way of traditional — and syndicated — linear-television, so writers on hit streaming shows make less on the back end what they would have in the past.)

But back to preventing panic from our fellow couch potatoes. As it stands, shows on air have generally completed production on their seasons, which wind down as we approach summer. (The traditional television season, as measured by Nielsen, runs from September through May, though a few season finales sneak past that deadline.) Summer TV relies heavily on unscripted programming, which means no WGA writers, so don’t even sweat a shutdown on those.

And many summer series, scripted and reality, are already in the can. ABC’s game shows, like “Celebrity Family Feud,” “$100,000 Pyramid,” and “Press Your Luck,” are batch-taped and have been finished for a while. Ditto the network’s summer hit, “The Bachelorette,” and Fox’s scripted summer stuff is wrapped, we’re told.

Series destined for perennial summer ratings-champion NBC are also “complete,” we’re told, though an insider added: “generally speaking.” Summer TV’s No. 1 show, “America’s Got Talent,” is fully shot with the obvious exception of the live shows at the end of August, a second insider told us. Again, the series is not reliant on writers, so “AGT” will air as planned.

CBS’ big summer series “Big Brother” is non-union and thus will go on as planned, we’re told. By now, you see the pattern.

“I Think You Should Leave” on NetflixTERENCE PATRICK/NETFLIX

As for streaming and premium cable, it’s mostly status quo — for now.

Netflix’s most-anticipated releases through summer are ready to roll, we’re told. Beyond the Thursday debut of “Bridgerton” spinoff “Queen Charlotte,” there is “I Think You Should Leave” Season 3 (May 30), “Never Have I Ever” Season 4 (June 8), “Black Mirror” Season 6 (also June, no exact date yet), and “The Witcher” Season 3 (June 29), among others.

Last summer’s breakout hit, FX’s “The Bear,” is completed and Season 2 is ready for Hulu, IndieWire is told. (We were early money on “The Bear” Season 1 last year; find our curated list of hot Summer 2023 shows here.)

HBO’s “House of the Dragon” Season 2 remains in production, IndieWire has confirmed, and all of the scripts are complete. “The Idol” is done in advance of its Cannes Film Festival premiere this month.

Other series will be delayed. Season 3 of Showtime series “Yellowjackets” had all of one day in the writers room before the strike struck. Showrunner Ashley Lyle called the one day “amazing,” “creatively invigorating,” and “so much fun.” (Imagine if they got a whole week.)

And Netflix’s “Cobra Kai” Season 6 has been forced to sit cross-cross applesauce on the mat. “We hate to strike, but if we must, we strike hard,” series co-creator Jon Hurwitz tweeted. Fear, and work, does not currently exist in his dojo.

Close up on a man in a suit and tie, looking upward as elevator doors close in front of him; still from "Severance."
“Severance”Apple TV+

This reporter is a bit worried about his favorite new show of 2022, Apple TV+ workplace-thriller “Severance.” Last week, during the CinemaCon chaos, Puck reported major problems with the series, “including scrapped scripts” and “showrunners who don’t speak to each other.” Director and executive producer Ben Stiller ended up “quietly” hiring “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon, Matt Belloni wrote, who has been tasked with fixing a troubled Season 2. All of this resulted in “Severance” being “delayed significantly,” per the story.

Apple TV+ did not comment on the Puck report, but Stiller (kind of) did. “No one’s going to the break room,” he tweeted in response, referencing the show’s mental-torture area. “We’re on the same really slow schedule we’ve always been on. Same target air date we’ve always had. Love our fans and each other and we all are just working to make the show as good as possible.”

An Apple TV+ spokesperson did not respond to our requests for an update on the production status of “Severance” Season 2. We hope they’re not in the break room.

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