In some of today's most shocking news, "The Young and the Restless" co-executive producer and head writer Josh Griffith has fired all five writers that comprised the longtime series' breakdown writing staff.
According to sources who spoke with The Wrap, the daytime drama's head writer said removing the breakdown writing staff is a "cost-cutting move," and that Griffith will now write breakdowns himself in their place. Breakdown writing staff are responsible for creating a storyline map across multiple episodes of a series. The source also noted to the outlet:
"The timing of the firings is suspect given that WGA negotiations were coming up and the show is celebrating a major milestone with its 50th anniversary. Even more brutal is that four of the five writers of the breakdown staff are all women, one of them being African-American, who was hired with the intended purpose of expanding diversity behind the scenes per CBS' directive."
It's hard enough to make it into a writers' room, but now folks working their way up the ladder have to worry that their job is going to be absorbed by the only person behind the scenes who probably won't ever get fired. It's looking a little bleak, kids.
The Writer's Plight
It'll be interesting to see how the Writers Guild of America handles this incident, especially considering their current contract comes to a close on May 1, 2023. The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers are set to begin negotiations for a new contract on Tuesday, March 20.
While the AMPTP recently made a statement in which they claimed to be committed to "reaching a fair and reasonable deal that brings strength and stability to the industry," it appears the WGA is concerned going into a new negotiation period. Board member and WGA West affiliate Adam Conover warned fellow WGA members via a video posted to the Guild's YouTube in January, "Be prepared. The AMPTP's initial proposals always consist almost entirely of roll-backs and cuts to our compensation and other important protections and benefits."
All of this is to say that things feel a bit foreboding in the mood between the organizations right now, and the "Young and the Restless" situation definitely only makes the many roles of writers in film and television feel more precarious. Plus, "cost-cutting" seems to be the single most used adjective in the industry right now, as major streamers and production houses are axing already-finished-yet-unreleased seasons of TV and films left and right. There have been past writers' strikes and breakdowns of trust — remember the clash between the WGA and talent agents in 2019? — in pretty recent memory, but there's no way to say that it won't happen again. Besides, we're already in a moment where creators and artists are feeling increasingly devalued by the powers that make money off of them, and it's possible writers may feel the need to go on the defense as negotiations begin. Either way, the "Y&R" breakdown staff deserved better than this.
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