(CTN News) – Studio executives and screenwriters have reportedly reached an agreement to end one of the strikes that have halted Hollywood.
In a letter sent to its 11,500 members, the Writers Guild of America wrote: “With major gains and protections for writers in every sector, this is truly an exceptional deal for writers everywhere.”
I would like to point out that union members still need to vote on the final contract, the details of which have not yet been made public. It was explained to them by the WGA strike captains that until the negotiations are finalized, the strike will continue, and they are not allowed to return to work.
The union has also informed its members that it will suspend its picketing, but it encourages them to join the striking actors in the union SAG-AFTRA who are striking this week.
There have been nearly five months since we began our strike… it has been exactly 146 days since we began our strike… The Writers Guild of America has been on strike against the major studios represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for nearly five months now.
There was only one meeting between the two sides during the summer, and it reportedly didn’t go very well – with writers accusing studio heads of lecturing them for the entire time they spent together.
Bob Iger is the CEO of Disney and Warner Bros. Over the course of the five days, Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, and Universal Pictures chief content officer Donna Langley attended bargaining sessions. In an unusual move, it signals studios’ eagerness to return to work; the strike has already caused them to postpone a number of film and television premieres.
Both sides had reached an impasse, with screenwriters demanding higher pay and residuals when their work is rerun on streaming services. In addition, they requested that a residual formula be developed based on the number of views a show receives on the streaming platforms.
The executives, however, resisted, expressing concern publicly about their profits and pointing out that they had laid off employees in recent years. Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon have also been reluctant to release information regarding their viewership.
It has been reported that writers have requested guarantees regarding staffing levels for television series, due to the new streaming model. The writers were especially concerned about the use of “mini rooms,” where individual writers are hired to submit their work remotely, on spec, with no guarantee of payment.
It was argued by the WGA that the elimination of “writers rooms” on TV series is detrimental to continuity and deprives newer writers of the opportunity to learn how to oversee productions as showrunners.
AMPTP offered showrunners the option to hire at least two writers for each show in its last counterproposal, but details of the newest agreement have not yet been disclosed.
It was also reported that the studios agreed to some demands regarding the use of artificial intelligence in the writing process in order to protect a writer’s work.
In an earlier counteroffer, the AMPTP proposed banning written materials produced by generative AI software, stating that such material would not be considered to be “literary material” or “source material.”
SAG-AFTRA actors continue to strike as they have been waiting for the AMPTP to negotiate their new contract with them. Since July, actors have been on strike.