WGA writers, including an SNL star Mikey Day, picketed outside ABC Studios on Wednesday, where the daytime chat show The View is shoot.
Audience members of ‘The View’ queued up along the 66th street entrance of the show in Manhattan, while a group of twelve members of the Writers Guild of America paraded outside ABC Studios, displaying protest signs.
WGA marching outside ABC Studios at The View pic.twitter.com/zCRFqhY6KD
— Kathryn StomsVik (@KStomsvik) September 13, 2023
Former writer and current cast member of Saturday Night Live, Mikey Day, who is also known for hosting the popular Netflix series Is It Cake?, splits his time between playing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and caring for his 11-year old daughter, when he’s not on the picket lines. Having filmed the most recent SNL episode with host Ana de Armas and musical guest and Rolling Stone cover star Karol G, Mikey Day stated that there’s a weird feeling among cast members, especially since the 49th season was expected to debut in a few weeks.
“It’s definitely a lot of, ‘How long do you think it’s going to last?’ and then theorizing about, well, you’d think maybe studios would want to salvage a fallen winter,” Day says.
As the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes against the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) show no signs of reaching an end, daytime and late-night talk shows are faced with a dilemma: whether to express their solidarity with its protesting members or forge ahead. As for ‘The View’, the show opted to continue airing new episodes after the strike commenced and proceeded with the premiere of its 27th season on Sept. 5, despite the absence of its two WGA writers. This decision by talk shows, whose on-air talent falls under the Network Television Code, to continue filming has stirred controversy among the WGA-covered writers who write the content for them.
Throughout the strike, ‘Live with Kelly and Mark’ and ‘The View’ have continued their production, while ‘The Talk’ has plans to return for its 14th season. Moreover, ‘The Jennifer Hudson Show’ and ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ also plan on premiering on Sept. 18, but not without raising a fair amount controversy.
Recently, The Drew Barrymore Show drew criticism when it resumed its production and removed two audience members, who were wearing Writers Guild of America pins, from their studio on Monday. The show’s head writers spoke to Rolling Stone on Tuesday from the picket lines outside the studio, and the guests’ WGA pins were momentarily taken away by security.
As stated in a WGA tweet, the daytime talk show is “a WGA-covered, struck show that is planning to return without its writers,” and, “Any writing on ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ is in violation of WGA strike rules.” Additionally, Barrymore was also disqualified from hosting the National Book Awards as a result of her choice to continue filming despite the strikes.
The @DrewBarrymoreTV Show is a WGA covered, struck show that is planning to return without its writers. The Guild has, and will continue to, picket struck shows that are in production during the strike. Any writing on “The Drew Barrymore Show” is in violation of WGA strike rules.
— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) September 10, 2023
On Wednesday, SAG-AFTRA released a statement to Rolling Stone in support of unionized actors such as Drew Barrymore and Whoopi Goldberg from The View.
“Many of these shows are, like The Drew Barrymore Show, produced under the Network Television Code agreement which is a separate contract and is not struck,” a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson wrote in a statement. “Programs covered under the Network Television Code are permissible work and a member’s role as host on a covered show would not violate the current strike rules.” (This, of course, pertains to the SAG-AFTRA strike and not the WGA strike.)
Certain unionized writers argue that the decision to restart production contradicts the core objectives of the strike. One of them is Sean Crespo, who’s been a member of the Writers Guild since 2019. He has been actively participating in the protests, attending three to five strikes each week and, to manage his finances during this period, had to take a part-time computer installation job.
“These shows staying on the air is going to prolong the strike,” Crespo told Rolling Stone. “It gives a little bit of extra wiggle room to the AMPTP and dilutes the message the guilds are out there trying to send, which is [that] there should be a full work stoppage until fair terms are negotiated.”
In May, Whoopi Goldberg spoke to the audiences of The View regarding the strikes, calling them “very different than most other shows” due to it being a predominantly unscripted show. However, this did not sit right with Sasha Stewart, a council member of the Writers Guild East. She views it as disrespectful that the top daytime talk show has opted to continue without its writers onboard.
“It’s incredibly frustrating to see our work and our labor devalued so much, and effectively hidden,” Stewart states. “I don’t know who they’re having do all the work, but somebody has to do it.”