WGA Investigating “Delayed” & Decrease Residual Checks From Studios To Scribes

EXCLUSIVE: The Writers Guild of America has opened investigations on each coasts into complaints by members of delayed and smaller than common residual checks.

Instigated over the previous few days because the WGA strike strikes deeper into its fourth month, the probe particularly is points with third-quarter funds that scribes on quite a few community and premium cable exhibits have reported apparently late or decrease than common funds, I hear.

“What’s been exhibiting up in my mailbox is unquestionably smaller than earlier quarters and final yr,” one showrunner stated of his current residuals checks.

“The quarter isn’t over but, however my checks thus far appear delayed,” one veteran author stated, noting how the shortage of incoming funds is hurting his capability to satisfy core monetary obligations.

Former Legislation & Order: SVU showrunner Warren Leight took to social media over the weekend concerning the difficulty, producing quite a few responses from different writers **who say they’re** experiencing comparable points with their residuals:

To these of you who reliably get residuals (say, from a community procedural or sit com):

On the threat of seeming paranoid, has anyone seen this quarter’s residuals are manner behind the place they need to be at this level? I’ve spoken to a number of WGAE of us who’ve seen a drop-off. — Warren Leight (@warrenleightTV) September 11, 2023

Contacted by Deadline, the WGA had no touch upon the residual matter or on whether or not there’s an inquiry underway.

It’s price noting that based mostly on a wide range of metrics together with repeats, licensing preparations and worldwide gross sales, residuals for exhibits and people can range quarter over quarter.

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The problem of residuals and extra equitable strategies of funds to satisfy the realities of the altering trade has been a major level of rivalry in negotiations between studios and streamers because the WGA referred to as its first strike in 15 years and hit the picket traces Might 2.

Residuals are compensation going to credited writers for reuse of supplies, in addition to actors and others. Each the WGA and SAG-AFTRA have made residuals, particularly in streaming, a centerpiece of their present strikes since streamers, which don’t reveal viewership information, have disrupted the decades-old formulation. Established out of the 1960 joint writers and actors strike, the common funds present a gradual earnings to many in Hollywood the place work will not be assured and there are gaps between tasks. They’re significantly key now with a lot of the trade having no recent earnings because of work stoppages.

“The best way issues are proper now, this might blow up if it seems individuals aren’t getting their cash,” one well-positioned guild member advised Deadline of the present lack of motion between the WGA and the AMPTP on a brand new three-year contract.

When it comes to the place scribes had been reporting lighter payouts or delayed checks, exhibits from NBCUniversal, CBS Studios and HBO had been talked about essentially the most, I’m advised. As has been the norm within the trade, corporations make the most of third-party distributors just like the bicoastal Leisure Companions to chop and distribute residual checks.

NBCU, HBO and CBS Studios declined touch upon the matter.

Sources on the Comcast-owned NBCU say there haven’t been delays in delivering funds to the skin firm that sends out its residual checks. HBO has not had any claims from the WGA on delayed or lacking residuals, sources there say. Over at CBS Studios, I’m advised the corporate has not seen points with funds from their community exhibits.

It appears the probe by the guild started on the East Coast, as members who labored on procedurals and sitcoms reached out to the WGA East with considerations prior to now few days. Because of the unpredictable arrival of residuals, most people initially certified their elevating of the difficulty with a “it is likely to be simply me.” That proved to not be the case as extra complaints got here into WGA East headquarters. The matter has now expanded because the WGA West started receiving comparable queries in current days.

The WGA strike is on its 134th day, whereas SAG-AFTRA has been out 61 days. No new talks between both guild and the AMPTP are on the books.

Nellie Andreeva & Jill Goldsmith contributed to this report.