Fran Drescher and Meredith Stiehm

Fran Drescher and Meredith Stiehm

President of SAG-AFTRA; president of Writers Guild of America West

Fran Drescher and Meredith Stiehm
By September 18, 2023 12:50 PM

The flashy girl from Flushing became a labor icon this summer. 

Fran Drescher, best known for playing the titular role in the 1990s TV series “The Nanny,” won a different type of acclaim after her impassioned speech in July when she announced that actors would skip hair and makeup, and instead take to the picket line.

“What happens here is important because what’s happening to us is happening across all fields of labor,” Drescher, the president of the SAG-AFTRA union, said during the speech, “when employers make Wall Street and greed their priority and they forget about the essential contributors that make the machine run.”

With a dual strike by Hollywood actors and writers, the “essential contributors” have definitely made their presence known this year. SAG-AFTRA joined the Writers Guild of America, which is headed on the West Coast by Meredith Stiehm, in protest, bringing the entertainment industry the first double strike in more than 60 years.

The monthslong strikes could cost the world’s economy at least $4 billion, according to the Milken Institute. And the new contracts for actors and studios could lead studios to shell out an additional $450 million to $600 million per year. These increased costs could ripple into development plans for new soundstages and film studios in and around L.A.

Movie studios are already feeling the impact — there are obviously empty soundstages as the strikes go on — but it’s unknown what the long-term impacts will be on rents, loans and even new soundstage developments. At least one major owner is already feeling some pain. Moody’s cut Hudson Pacific Properties’ credit rating before the SAG strike started, and the owner saw a $4 million loss to its studio division in the second quarter.

It’s unclear how long the strikes will last, but Drescher and Stiehm have most likely done the most to shape Hollywood this year. And Hollywood shapes so much of Los Angeles real estate.

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