Disney/ABC Hiring “Scab” Writers For Long-Running Television Show

General Hospital
General Hospital. Credit: ABC

On May 2, more than 10,000 Hollywood writers, encompassing hundreds of movies and television shows, went on strike. The Writers Guild of America — which represents the writers — had been unable to come to a contract agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The strike is the first major one in Hollywood since the last writers’ strike in 2007. The 2007 strike lasted 93 days and cost the industry millions. This time, the strike has been going on for almost 90 days and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Writers Strike

Credit: Josie Huang Twitter

With many of Hollywood’s writers on the picket lines, many films and television shows have had to pause production. However, one ABC show is keeping things going by hiring “scab” writers. “Scab” writers are temporary writers who are willing to cross the picket lines and write because they are getting paid a lot of money to do it. General Hospital, which has run on ABC since 1963, will employ these writers. News of ABC’s decision was shared by General Hospital writer Shannon Peace, on her now-private Instagram page.

“Starting next week, the show will be written exclusively by scab writers, which is heartbreaking. Daytime writers face a unique conflict during strikes. We hate to see our characters and storylines handed over to ‘writers’ who cross the picket line. But we’re also keenly aware that stopping production could spell the demise of soap operas. Hoping the AMPTP does the right thing soon — not just for writers, but for the integrity of storytelling.”

General Hospital ABC

Credit: Disney

Now, you may be wondering how shows like General Hospital can keep filming since the Screen Actors Guild is also on strike. Well, the answer to that is simple. Actors on soap operas, which are considered “daytime series”, are under a Network Television Code contract. That contract typically covers soap opera actors, daytime talk shows, new programs, unscripted reality shows, and news programs.

At the heart of the WGA strike are two key issues — streaming and the use of artificial intelligence. Streaming has drastically changed the way writers are employed. In the past, writers were employed for a season that would run around 20+ episodes and last for months. Now, many streaming shows are maybe 12 episodes, usually less. That means less time the writer is employed, which drastically cuts their pay.

General Hospital

Credit: ABC

There is also a disagreement on how residuals should work in streaming. When movies and television shows aired on cable, it was easy to keep track of how often they played. However, streamers like Disney and Netflix have not been as open with their streaming numbers. That is making it increasingly difficult for writers to know how often their show is watched and how much they should be making.

Disney Actors residuals stories are horrifying

Credit: Herman de Keyperling, Flickr

Unlike the last strike, this time, the writers are not alone. In mid-July, SAG-AFTRA announced they were going on strike as well. SAG-AFTRA is the largest actors union in the country, representing more than 160,000 actors. Streaming residuals and the use of artificial intelligence are also at the heart of the actors’ strike. The SAG strike is holding strong, just like the writers’ strike, which has shut most of Hollywood down.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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