The WGA Chicago strike team has chalked up a huge victory, but there is still a long road ahead. Showtime’s hit drama The Chi, which films entirely in Chicago, has paused production on its upcoming sixth season. The decision was made late Monday after a second consecutive day of shooting was disrupted by WGA strike-related picketing, according to Deadline.
Next up is the WGA Chicago Strike Action Event this Wednesday, May 17th at 12:00pm CDT for a picket outside of NBC Tower at 454 N Columbus Drive in downtown Chicago, right under the big NBC logo. Click here to RSVP and for full details.
As for The Chi, Deadline‘s Nellie Andreeva reports that “eight episodes from Season 6 have been completed; they were shot before the strike. I hear The Chi, whose seasons have consisted of 10 episodes each, had been slated to shoot for another couple of weeks from finished scripts. It is unclear when production will resume.”
How the Shutdown Victory Happened
After writers Sunday night were alerted on social media that The Chi production had asked those working on the show to be at the Cinespace Chicago Film Studios before 4 AM Monday to avoid picketers, they sent out a call to action, getting a picket line at the studio up and running in the wee hours.
As a result, The Chi could not film. WGA strike captains thanked Teamsters and IATSE 476 on Twitter for not crossing.
The Chi, created and executive produced by Lena Waithe and executive produced by Common, is a coming-of-age drama set in the South Side of Chicago. Along with Waithe and Common, the series is executive produced by showrunner Justin Hillian, Aaron Kaplan, Rick Famuyiwa, Derek Dudley and Shelby Stone of ID8 Multimedia, Rishi Rajani, CEO of Hillman Grad Productions, and Jewel Coronel.
What Is At Stake Here for Writers?
You might also be asking, “What’s this strike all about, anyway?” Here is a clear and concise statement from leaders of the WGA effort…
“The companies’ behavior has created a gig economy inside a union workforce, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing. From their refusal to guarantee any level of weekly employment in episodic television, to the creation of a “day rate” in comedy variety, to their stonewalling on free work for screenwriters and on AI for all writers, they have closed the door on their labor force and opened the door to writing as an entirely freelance profession.”
How Can You Support?
Next up is the WGA Chicago Strike Action Event this Wednesday, May 17th at 12:00pm CDT for a picket outside of NBC Tower at 454 N Columbus Drive in downtown Chicago, right under the big NBC logo. Whether you’re a writer or union member or not, you are welcome to attend and support. Click here to RSVP and for full details.
Check back here at SCREEN for updates as the strike forges ahead. You can also click right here to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter.