ATX TV Festival to host WGA writers' strike conversation

ATX TV Festival has made some changes to its Season 12 schedule in light of the Writers Guild of America writers' strike.

The festival says it has added a conversation with some of TV's leading writers to discuss the strike, including the issues at stake, the changes they’re fighting for and why the strike is necessary.

The conversation will feature:

  • Zoanne Clack, WGA West member and writer and producer on ABC's "Station 19" and "Grey's Anatomy"
  • Greg Iwinski, WGA East negotiating committee member and late night TV writer, including HBO's "Last Week Tonight" and CBS's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert"
  • Damon Lindelof, WGA West member and executive producer, co-creator, and showrunner for shows like ABC's "Lost" and HBO's "Watchmen"
  • Julie Plec, WGA West member and producer, writer and showrunner for the CW's "Vampire Diaries" and spin-offs

Beau Willimon, WGA East member and writer on Disney+'s "Andor" and Netflix's "House of Cards," will moderate the panel.

Additional changes to Season 12

The festival says its co-founders have been speaking with the WGA to ensure they're following strike compliance rules, which has led to both programming additions and cancelations.

In addition to the WGA strike panel, the festival has added and adjusted writing conversations to focus on the importance and craft of writing and broad topical panels.

The following panels have been added:

  • Beyond the Page
  • Why Do You Write?
  • Queer Stories We Want To See
  • The End

The following panels and conversations have been canceled:

  • Late Night with Seth Meyers
  • Andor: A Conversation with Tony Gilroy
  • Tiny Beautiful Things with Liz Tigelaar and Cheryl Strayed
  • Dawson’s Creek 25th Anniversary Screening & Conversation

The festival says the participants are standing with the WGA at this time and will not be attending.

ATX TV Festival’s Pitch Competition will continue as planned as the festival says the focus is education, mentorship, and preparing a new group of writers for the next steps in their careers. Judges will include writers, showrunners, and producers. 

Why is the WGA on strike?

On May 1, the WGA voted to go on strike, saying that contract talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the studios, had again broken down.

Since midnight May 2, the guild has been on strike for the first time in 15 years, and picketers have been seen outside numerous studios in California and productions on the East Coast.

The WGA is pushing for increases in pay and residuals, particularly over streaming content, and specifically calling for higher residual pay for streaming programs with higher viewership. The existing model pays a standard rate regardless of a show's success. 


The union is also calling for industry standards on the number of writers assigned to each show.

The WGA last went on strike in 2007-08, remaining off the job for 100 days and grinding Hollywood production to a halt. That strike was over compensation for what was then termed "new media," as streaming was beginning to reshape entertainment.

City News Service contributed to this report.