Team SWAT Shows Their Support for the Ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes: 'We're Asking for Dignity and Respect' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Team SWAT Shows Their Support for the Ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes: ‘We’re Asking for Dignity and Respect’

August 15, 2023 by  

SWAT reunion picket

Credit: Marisa Roffman/Give Me My Remote

The SWAT writers, crew, and cast—including Shemar Moore, David Lim, Rochelle Aytes, David DeSantos, Peter Onorati, Bre Blair, Nikiva Dionne, Jessica Camacho, Anna Enger Ritch, Brigitte Kali Canales, and Sean Maguire—came out to support the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes on Monday, August 14.

“We wanted to get our SWAT family together on the picket lines now that the Writers’ Guild and SAG are on strike,” co-creator Shawn Ryan explains to Give Me My Remote in the video below. 

Though they initially planned to get the group together last week, it would have conflicted with the 100th day of the WGA strike. (No reunions were officially held at any of the picketing locations.) But it worked out: “We got an incredible turnout,” he enthuses. “Not only do we have writers and actors from the show, but we have our composer here from the show, some of our producers, one of our editors, one of our directors…really the whole SWAT family is here in support of continuing to fight for a fair contract for writers and for actors.”

Moore jokes he’s picketing because his daughter “needs some new shoes.” But, turning serious, he acknowledges, “we work hard.”

“There’s no content without writers, without actors, without the directors,” he says. “Television—the game has changed. It’s evolved. But it’s not fair, it’s not right, it’s not dignified for the big boy studios and networks to not realize where their bread is buttered. We’re not asking for everything; we’re asking for dignity and respect. From the little people to the big people, from the stand-ins to the teamsters, to caterers and crew, all the way to the actors, writers, directors. We can all win in this and right now only one side is winning, and that’s not fair.”

“They can stand out [not making a contract for] as long as they want, but without content, even the fancy people’s families are getting hurt by this,” he continues. “And if this continues into the holidays, that’s just borderline evil. So let’s shake hands. Let’s hug it out. Let’s acknowledge we’re all very valuable for this process. And let’s get back to work and have fun.”

For Camacho, “Joining SAG was such a huge thing in my life, such a huge kind of marker in my career,” she says. “I’m here for my fellow SAG members, in support and solidarity.”

“It’s such a cool thing to be out here amongst fellow union members,” she continues. “To come and share our joy and share our encouragement and our support for one another. To remember that we’re a part of something bigger than us; sometimes you have to show up for one another.”

On the writers’ side, Ryan points to the dwindling ability to make writing a sustainable career as his top concern during the ongoing negotiations.

“Well, certainly long-term, AI is gonna be an issue,” he says. “But for me, the most basic thing—and this probably deals with two or three, or maybe even more, proposals the guild has—is that writers have been asked to do more, in less time, for less money. And that is preventing them from turning this into a bonafide career. I’m not talking about people like me, but I’m talking about people who are staff writers and story editors or early in their career.” 

“When I was in my second season of working on NASH BRIDGES back in 1998, I was able to make enough money that my wife and I were able to buy a house,” he continues. “I know people who are working on very successful shows for years and years and years who can’t do that now. And so basically it comes down to [this]: the system has been changed on us in a way that is expecting more in less time, for less money, and quality is suffering from that. So the basic things I’m most concerned about are putting guardrails around those mini-rooms and other things that are driving people towards lower salaries and an unsustainable lifestyle.”

SWAT reunion picket

Credit: Marisa Roffman/Give Me My Remote

When the strikes do end, fans will get to see one last-go round of SWAT: The series was canceled, and then swiftly uncanceled back in May.

“It was hard because, during the strike, I’m not looking to have communications with people that work at the studio or network,” Ryan says. “So I think the strike led to some confusion about what was possible and what wasn’t possible in terms of the production. So I think the cancellation came a little prematurely, without all the available information. And so once all that information was collected, people realized, ‘Oh, a seventh season is possible, financially speaking and creatively speaking.’” 

“The show had done really well in season 6,” he continues. “I want to give credit to Andrew Dettmann, who took over the showrunning duties in season 6, so I can’t take credit for the resurgence in ratings; I give credit to Andy and his team. But…I think if all the drama hadn’t been going on [with the WGA strike], I think more direct conversations would have been happening behind the scenes that would have prevented the cancellation.”

Ultimately, “it wasn’t a show that CBS wanted to cancel,” he says. “It just required some back-channeling about what the production was capable of. I’m really glad it got worked out.”

“We’re eager to get back to writing these shows and filming them and making the episodes that fans love,” Ryan, who also created THE NIGHT AGENT, continues. “We get into this profession because we love it. We love making TV; it’s a labor of love. We all sacrificed early in our career, we all took risks…we’re not asking for a risk-free profession. We’re asking for a profession that when we make the product that’s sold all over the world, and enjoyed by millions and millions of people, the people who write these shows, the people who act in these shows, that they can make a living and take care of their family. And so we have to hold out and we have to withhold our services until we can secure that kind of contract. But just know if you’re a fan of one of our shows—we love the show as much as you do and we can’t wait to get back to make it. We hope a fair deal comes soon so we can do it.”


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