Despite the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, Saturday Night Live (SNL) is able to return to our screens because it operates under a separate agreement known as the Network Code Agreement, which is not subject to the union’s strike order.
In our upcoming EcoReporter segment, we will explore the question of how SNL is able to return amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. SNL, a long-running comedy entertainment show, last aired on 15 April before the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike. Although the writers’ strike ended in September, the actors union SAG-AFTRA has continued to withhold their labor since 14 July.
Many have wondered how SNL’s cast members, who both act and write on the show, are able to appear on the program during the ongoing collective action. The answer lies in the Network Code Agreement, also known as the Net Code. According to SAG-AFTRA, SNL cast members are not in violation of the union’s strike rules and are supported in fulfilling their contractual obligations.
The Net Code is a separate agreement that covers various genres, including morning news shows, talk shows, soap operas, variety, reality and game shows, sports, and promotional announcements. It includes a “No Strike” clause, which means performers must return to work if asked to by producers. As a SAG-AFTRA non-dramatic production, SNL falls under this separate agreement and is not subject to the union’s strike order.
While SAG-AFTRA continues their strike against the studios, they recognize that members who are required to go to work every day under other union contracts or personal service agreements should fulfill their obligations. The union stands with their industry siblings and acknowledges their obligations under federal labor law.
With this understanding, SNL is set to return on 14 October, with former cast member Pete Davidson as the host and rapper Ice Spice as the musical guest. The following episode will be hosted by musician Bad Bunny, who will also serve as the musical guest. Comedian Chloe Troast is the only new player joining the cast for the forthcoming season.
In conclusion, SNL is able to return amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike because it operates under a separate agreement, the Network Code Agreement, which is not subject to the union’s strike order. This allows the show’s cast members to fulfill their contractual obligations and continue entertaining audiences.