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SAG strike comes to an end - what does this mean for NCIS, 911 and more?

The SAG strike lasted for almost four months


SAG strike comes to an end - what does this mean for NCIS, 911 and more?
Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
November 9, 2023
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The SAG-AFTRA strike has come to an end after a tentative deal was struck between the union and the AMPTP. The strike will end at 12:01 am Thursday November 9. and the deal will go to the union’s national board for approval on Friday November 10. 

No details have been shared publicly yet, but if the deal is not ratified by the union's members, it means the SAG negotiators must go back to the negotiating table. 

The strike lasted for 118 days and has put a huge strain on the film and TV industry as the association which manages the studios refused to negotiate in good faith over key areas of contention including AI usage. The two sides returned to the table on October 24 after an almost two-week break, with the studios including Netflix, Warner Bros and Disney reportedly offering an increase in actors’ wage floors and a modified version of a success-based streaming bonus that had also been offered to the WGA during their negotiations. 

Fran Drescher joins SAG-AFTRA members as SAG-AFTRA and the WGA hold a rally at City Hall on August 1, 2023 in New York City. Members of SAG-AFTRA and WGA (Writers Guild of America) have both walked out in their first joint strike against the studios since© Getty Images
Fran Drescher joins SAG-AFTRA members as SAG-AFTRA and the WGA hold a rally at City Hall on August 1, 2023 in New York City

But it was guardrails for AI (artificial intelligence) that saw the talks slow, as the union sought to close any loopholes in the contract that could lead to future issues. 

The news of the strike coming to a close means that the likelihood of a shorter 13-episode season for network TV dramas may be on the cards, as the writer's strike ended in September and allowed showrunners for the likes of 9-1-1, The Rookie and NCIS to return to rooms. 

Gina Torres with Gloria Kellett, Diana Riva and Lisa Vidal© Instagram
Gina Torres with Gloria Kellett, Diana Riva and Lisa Vidal on the picket line

The traditional network business model sees dramas return every September, but there has been a fear that the ongoing strike may force many networks to push the release of new seasons back to September 2024. 

There is nothing stopping a network from running a series through the summer months, but — traditionally — the regular broadcast season runs predominantly from late September to May, and during the summer months networks will air reruns or series whose ratings are expected to be lower. This is because people are often out of their houses more during these months, or on vacation, and children are at sleepaway camps. Reality TV often also runs during this time. 

Writers for Grey’s Anatomy and 9-1-1 (both now on ABC) along with Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers and The Simpsons, all on Fox, returned immediately following the strike's end, as did CBS series Ghosts, Fire Country, and The Neighborhood, Abbott Elementary (ABC), The Sex Lives of College Girls (Max), Young Sheldon (CBS) as well as freshman Fox show Rescue: Hi-Surf. 

But this doesn't guarantee that your favorite shows will return for spring 2024; for some shows, such as comedies, production can be quicker as it often requires less technical elements, which means in theory a show such as Abbott Elementary could still produce a 13-episode order to premiere in Spring 2023.   

But for a show such as 9-1-1, which can cost upwards of $10 million per episode thanks in large part to its A-list cast and the over-the-top emergencies it depicts, it may not be able to turn around an episode as quickly.

Watch this space...

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