“Andor” creator, showrunner, and executive producer Tony Gilroy has ceased all non-writing duties related to the show amidst the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, Deadline shared.
“I discontinued ALL writing and writing-related work on ANDOR prior to midnight, May 1,” Gilroy announced. “After being briefed on the Saturday showrunner meeting, I informed Chris Keyser at the WGA on Sunday morning that I would also be ceasing ALL non-writing producing functions.”
“Andor” season 2 scripts were completed prior to the WGA strike, but Gilroy continued to perform non-writing duties after the strike began, facing some criticism from fellow writers.
Last week, Disney and Warner Bros. Studios sent out a letter to showrunners employed by its various studios. The purpose of the letter was to remind the writers and producers on strike that they are still contractually obligated to perform their non-writing services.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the letter from the legal department of ABC Signature — owned by Disney — said:
“We want to specifically reiterate to you as a showrunner or other writer-producer that you are not excused from performing your duties as a showrunner and/or producer on your series as a result of the WGA strike. Your personal services agreement with [the] Studio requires that you perform your showrunner and/or producing duties even if the WGA attempt to fine you for performing such services during this strike…Your duties as a showrunner and/or producer are not excused, suspended, or terminated until and unless you are so notified in writing by the Studio.”
The letter was written by the assistant chief counsel for the Disney-owned ABC Signature, Bob McPhail. We also noticed that the date on the letter was May 3, which was the second day of the Writer’s Guild of America’s strike.
The letter specifically stated that showrunner and/or writer-producers, “may, along with other non-writing services, be required to perform services commonly referred to as ‘a. through h.’ services as a producer.”
According to the Q&A part of the document, the “a. through h.” services include: cutting for time, assignment of lines to other existing characters occasioned by cast changes, instructions, directions, or suggestions, whether oral or written, made to writer regarding story or screenplay, and more.
The WGA Strike rules strongly forbid union members from performing the aforementioned duties during the strike. “The Rules prohibit hyphenates (members who are employed in dual capacities) from performing any writing services, including the ‘(a) through (h)’ functions.” This puts showrunners and writer-producers in a very difficult position.
Members of the Writers Guild of America overwhelmingly voted to strike last month as negotiations with studios and streaming services reached a stalemate.
Writers have been picketing in Los Angeles and New York since May 2. They are seeking increased wage floors, viewership transparency from streamers, and protections against the use of artificial intelligence, among other issues.
The WGA wrote in their announcement of the strike, “Here is what all writers know: the companies have broken this business. They have taken so much from the very people, the writers, who have made them wealthy. But what they cannot take from us is each other, our solidarity, our mutual commitment to save ourselves and this profession that we love. We had hoped to do this through reasonable conversation. Now we will do it through struggle. For the sake of our present and our future, we have been given no other choice.”
They spent six weeks negotiating with Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount, and Sony under the umbrella of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
In a statement provided to Deadline, the AMPTP said they “presented a comprehensive package proposal to the Guild last night which included generous increases in compensation for writers as well as improvements in streaming residuals.”
“The AMPTP member companies remain united in their desire to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial to writers and the health and longevity of the industry,” they added, “and to avoid hardship to the thousands of employees who depend upon the industry for their livelihoods. The AMPTP is willing to engage in discussions with the WGA in an effort to break this logjam.”