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Production on "Stranger Things" halted due to writers' strike

Writers strike enters third day
Hollywood writers strike enters third day 03:14

Production on "Stranger Things" has been put on hold, the show's writers tweeted on Saturday. Filming for the fifth season of the Netflix show was sidelined due to the writers' strike.

The writing team for the supernatural show runs a Twitter account where the Duffer brothers — the creators and executive producers of the show — shared an update with fans. "Duffers here. Writing does not stop when filming begins. While we're excited to start production with our amazing cast and crew, it is not possible during this strike," the tweet reads. "We hope a fair deal is reached soon so we can all get back to work. Until then — over and out."

The Writers Guild of America, the union that represents writers in TV, film and digital media, said they were calling for a strike on May 2 after six weeks of unsuccessful negotiations with some of the top media companies, including Netflix, Disney, Apple, NBC Universal and CBS News' parent company, Paramount. 

The guild's negotiations for writers' salaries and benefits hit a dead end and WGA said in a statement that the behavior from the media companies who employ the writers "has created a gig economy inside a union workforce, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing."

WGA says streaming services have changed the economic landscape for writers — and even though many productions have higher budgets, writers are making smaller shares. Streamers also often employ "mini rooms" or smaller writing staffs with shorter seasons, so writers are not employed as long as they would be on a broadcast show with a longer season. 

About half of the guild's writers are making the minimum pay and the guild is asking for an increase after their pay fell 14%, adjusted for inflation, since 2018. They want to increase pay for their writers by a total of $429 million per year but the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers countered with an $86 million increase. 

Writers began picketing on May 3 and many shows halted production with several staff members refusing to work due to the negotiations or in solidarity with the writers. 

Last week, Drew Barrymore showed solidarity with striking writers by dropping out as host of the MTV Movie & TV awards, which honor creatives in the industry. The show went on, but was not broadcast live.

Late-night talk shows like "The Late Show" on CBS, "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on ABC, "The Tonight Show" on NBC, "Late Night" on NBC and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" are in reruns due to the strike, as is "Saturday Night Live." 

The strike's impact on scripted shows was not as immediately obvious. 

"When it comes to scripted dramas or comedies, it would actually be quite a while before a normal viewer would see a difference," Alex Weprin, media and business writer at The Hollywood Reporter, told CBS News. "There are a lot of episodes that have already been shot that are banked for later use; there are also some scripts that have already been written for some of these shows."

Irina Ivanova contributed to this report.

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