“Entertainment as a business does not work unless we have a viable career path for writers and actors. It can’t just be a gig economy where only 5% of the guild can make a living at this. We need to raise wages overall so that this becomes a bigger, better, and stronger business.”
–Matt Belloni, episode 347 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso
For nearly two decades, Matt Belloni (The Town) has been observing and writing about Hollywood. He joins us today to unpack the latest on the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
After a review of TIFF 2023 (6:50), Belloni dives into Drew Barrymore and Bill Maher’s recent decisions to return to their talk shows without WGA writers (10:45), the vital issues the guild is fighting for (19:20), and how negotiations have progressed over the past twenty weeks (23:10). Then, we discuss the history of the Netflix business model (25:05), the state of streaming today (29:50), and Belloni’s fourteen years at The Hollywood Reporter (35:04).
On the back-half, we talk about his path from entertainment law to journalism (41:29), his unique approach to reporting at Puck (44:10), and his predictions for the end of the strikes (50:05). Before we leave, we sit with recent messaging from SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher (57:15), the potential fragmentation within the AMPTP (1:03:00), and to close, Matt’s hope for the future of Hollywood (1:08:12).
- Listen to Matt Belloni’s podcast The Town.
- Subscribe to his Puck newsletter What I’m Hearing...
- Find more of his entertainment coverage at Puck and The Hollywood Reporter.
- Read Jonathan Handel’s analysis of the Netflix model.
- Follow Matt Belloni on Twitter.
- For more talks, hear our conversations with Alex O’Keefe, Tom Hanks, Kara Swisher, Natasha Lyonne, Sam Sanders, and Judd Apatow.
- Order your Talk Easy mug in cream and navy or our vinyl record with Fran Lebowitz.
Illustrations by Krishna Shenoi.