Writers and Hollywood studios reach tentative deal

September 25, 2023

The Writers Guild of America and Hollywood studio execs reached a tentative contract deal Sunday night, potentially ending a months-long strike.

“The WGA and AMPTP have reached a tentative agreement. This was made possible by the enduring solidarity of WGA members and extraordinary support of our union siblings who stood with us for over 146 days. More details coming after contract language is finalized,” the WGA announced.

The deal comes after the WGA and the the trade association Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) that bargains on behalf of studios entered renewed talks last week. For the first time amid the standoff, several studio CEOs, including Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Disney’s Bob Iger, Universal’s Donna Langly and Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav were present at the bargaining table during that last round of talks. 

Some 11,500 unionized movie and television writers with the WGA went on strike in May after initial contract negotiations broke down.

While the details of the deal remain unpublished, the writers’ main sticking points reportedly included union proposals that would require companies to staff television shows with a certain number of writers for a specific period of time. The union asserted that writers face an “existential crisis” amid the emerging dominance of streaming services which the union says has led to the reduction of media writer-producer pay 4%—or 23% when adjusted for inflation.

Meanwhile, the APMTP still needs to come to an agreement striking actors. In mid-July, performers in Hollywood’s largest union, SAG-AFTRA, which claims some 160,000 members, walked out, demanding increases in base pay and residuals amid the streaming era, along with assurances that their work will not be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI).

As long as the actors remain on the picket line major portions of the entertainment industry are stuck in limbo. 

In a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Warner Bros Discovery said it could suffer a $500 million hit because of the work stoppages.

PHOTO: Striking writers in Hollywood, Sunday afternoon

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