After months of brewing tensions, the Writers’ Guild of America officially declared a strike that went into effect Tuesday. The impact was instant—writing rooms for popular shows including ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” and Netflix’s “Cobra Kai” shuttered, late night shows and NBC’s “SNL” will air reruns, and CBS postponed its fall schedule reveal event originally planned for next week. In addition, protesters have formed picket lines outside of studios and completely obscured the entrance to Peacock’s NewFronts presentation this week, an occurrence anticipated to impact presentations during the TV upfront week beginning May 15.
The strike comes as advertisers and networks begin negotiations for the upfront season, when brands look to make long-term ad commitments. While multiple agency sources have told Ad Age they are preparing precautionary measures and readying demands for greater flexibility in ad commitments, network executives said they will rely on the bigger-than-ever state of media portfolios—if the strike has any impact at all.
“We are already scenario planning for when the impact of the loss of scripted programming starts to hit, what the loss of impressions will be and where we can move dollars to recapture those eyeballs,” said one media buyer.