The ongoing Writers Guild strike “could be costing about $30 million a day in lost studio output,” according to WGA East Vice President Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, who said in a message sent today to WGA members that that’s “based on prior estimates.” That estimate, the guild says, “came from WGA West Research Department.”
If that’s accurate, the 14-day-old strike already might have cost the studios over $400 million in “lost output,” though the guild didn’t define what “lost output” means and whether it includes savings the companies will realize from suspended overall deals and money not spent on struck productions.
“We don’t even know what that unverified number means,” a studio source said. “It’s obviously an attempt to generate a salacious headline.”
Deadline could not independently verify Cullen’s estimate, but if true, a 100-day writers strike like the one in 2007-08 could cost the companies $3 billion in “lost output.”
That strike cost Los Angeles County nearly that much alone. According to the late Jack Kyser, who then was chief economist of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, the previous Writer Guild work stoppage cost the county $2.5 billion in lost economic output.
The current strike shows no sign of abating, with the production of TV shows shutting down across the country.
RELATED: WGA Strike Photos: Stars, Writers, Showrunners & Their Supporters On The Picket Line
“Holy shirtballs, you are some mother-forking superstars!” Cullen wrote in her message to members. “Here we are, two weeks into this strike, and the whole world knows of our struggle. My deli guy asked about it, and here in Jersey that means something. Everyone knows the WGA is striking, and why: because the studios refuse to pay us what we’re worth.”
Cullen, who is the WGA East’s VP Film, TV and Streaming, also noted that the WGA will be holding a Zoom membership meeting Thursday.