Hollywood writers reach 'tentative' deal to end months-long strike 4 months ago

Hollywood writers reach 'tentative' deal to end months-long strike

This comes as actors are currently involved in a separate strike that has also halted Hollywood.

For months, most US movie and TV productions have been halted due to two ongoing strikes, one involving the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the other involving the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA).

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However, the former could be coming to an end soon as the WGA confirmed that it has reached a "tentative agreement" with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the group that represents major studios and streamers including Amazon, Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros. Discovery/HBO.

As JOE explained earlier in the year, the WGA strike - which kicked off at the start of May 2023 - is not down to one main issue, but rather multiple areas.

One is the complicated matter of residuals. Writers are paid in residuals for broadcast and streamed shows. However, there are major differences in how these two formats pay out.

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With broadcast shows, writers are paid on the basis of how much of a success the show is. The more of a hit with audiences it is, the more they get paid. Whereas, with streaming, writers are paid the same amount regardless of how successful the show is.

The WGA are arguing that, with the huge uptick in streaming over recent years, writers deserve to be paid on the success of their shows by streamers and that streaming shows should abide by the same model used by broadcast companies.

writers guild of america

The writers' strike and the actors' strike have halted most US movie and TV productions

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As well as this, Hollywood writers are demanding from the AMPTP increased pay across the board, as well as safeguards to be put in place about the threat that artificial intelligence (AI) has on the future of the movie and TV industry.

In terms of the latter, huge strides have been made in the field of AI recently thanks to software like ChatGPT.

However, writers are worried that their roles may be diminished in the years to come because of this and are looking for preventative measures around that.

As reported in Deadline, the WGA issued a statement to its members that included the following:

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"We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language.

"We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.

"What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language. And though we are eager to share the details of what has been achieved with you, we cannot do that until the last “i” is dotted. To do so would complicate our ability to finish the job. So, as you have been patient with us before, we ask you to be patient again – one last time.

"To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorised to by the Guild. We are still on strike until then. But we are, as of today, suspending WGA picketing. Instead, if you are able, we encourage you to join the SAG-AFTRA picket lines this week."

If the deal is finalised, US late-night comedy shows and daytime talk shows would be able to return to screens almost immediately. This is because they are unaffected by the actors' strike.

However - unless they signed interim agreements with SAG-AFTRA allowing them to work - movies and scripted TV shows will not be able to shoot until the actors' strike is settled, Deadline reports.

For information on some productions that have been delayed due to the actors' strike, see here and here.

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