The strike lasted for five months and affected many popular shows
The Hollywood writers strike, which began on April 1, 2023, finally came to an end on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, after the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract. The strike, which was the longest in Hollywood history, lasted for five months and affected many popular late-night TV shows, such as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
The strike was mainly over the issues of streaming residuals, diversity and inclusion, and health care benefits for writers. The writers demanded a fair share of the profits generated by the streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+, which have become the dominant players in the entertainment industry. They also wanted more opportunities and representation for women, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and other marginalized groups in the writing rooms. Moreover, they sought to improve their health care plan, which was facing a deficit due to the pandemic and the rising costs of medical care.
The new deal, which still needs to be ratified by the WGA members, reportedly includes significant gains for the writers on all these fronts. According to the WGA, the deal will increase the streaming residuals by 35%, provide a $1 billion increase in writer compensation over the three years, establish a new fund to support diversity and inclusion initiatives, and secure the solvency of the health plan for the foreseeable future.
The late-night hosts announced their return to their regular shows
As the news of the strike settlement broke, many late-night TV hosts announced their return to their regular shows, which had been either on hiatus or airing reruns since the strike began. Bill Maher was the first to announce that his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher would be back on the air on Friday, September 29, 2023. He tweeted: “I’m happy to report that the writers strike is over and we’re back to work. Tune in this Friday for a brand new Real Time with Bill Maher. And don’t worry, I still have plenty of jokes left.”
By mid-morning, the hosts of NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, and CBS’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert had also announced that they would resume their shows by Monday, October 2, 2023. They all expressed their gratitude and solidarity with the writers and their excitement to be back on the air. Jimmy Fallon posted a video on Instagram, saying: “Hey, guys, I have some great news. The writers strike is over and we’re coming back on Monday with a new show. I want to thank the writers for their hard work and their courage. They are the backbone of this show and I can’t wait to see them again. And I can’t wait to see you, too. We have a lot of catching up to do. See you on Monday.”
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg also spoke at the Connect developer conference
Another major event that took place on Wednesday was the Connect developer conference, hosted by Meta, the tech giant formerly known as Facebook. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicked off the conference with a focus on virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence. He unveiled the next version of Meta’s virtual reality headset, the Quest 3, which will cost $499 and begin shipping on October 10, 2023. He also announced several new features and products, such as Horizon Workrooms, a virtual collaboration platform for remote work; Project Cambria, a high-end VR headset with realistic avatars and facial expressions; and Ray-Ban Stories, smart glasses that can capture photos and videos.
Zuckerberg said that Meta’s vision is to create a metaverse, a virtual world where people can interact, socialize, work, and play in immersive and realistic ways. He said that the metaverse will be the next frontier of the internet and that Meta is committed to leading the way. He said: “The metaverse is not just a place you go to. It’s a place you are. It’s a place where you can be yourself, express yourself, and connect with anyone, anywhere. It’s a place where you can create and discover amazing things. It’s a place where anything is possible.”
However, Zuckerberg also acknowledged the challenges and controversies that Meta faces, such as the antitrust lawsuits, the data privacy scandals, and the whistleblower revelations. He said that Meta is working hard to address these issues and to earn the trust of its users and regulators. He said: “We know that we have a lot of work to do to make sure that the metaverse is a force for good in the world. We know that we have to be more transparent, more accountable, and more responsible. We know that we have to put people first and protect their safety, their privacy, and their dignity. We know that we have to build the metaverse with everyone, not just for everyone.”