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Business News/ Industry / Media/  Hollywood strike: Writers Guild and studios reach tentative deal, says report
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Hollywood strike: Writers Guild and studios reach tentative deal, says report

Major film and television studios and striking writers have ended the months-long protest that hit the Hollywood industry recently

Hollywood strike: Screenwriters reach tentative deal (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)Premium
Hollywood strike: Screenwriters reach tentative deal (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Major film and television studios and striking writers have reportedly reached a tentative agreement to end the strike that has frozen production in much of Hollywood in recent months.

The Writers Guild of America, which represents more than 11,500 Hollywood scribes said it has reached the deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, the studios’ bargaining group. The agreement, if approved by the guild members, will end a strike.

The strike between screenwriters and studios including Walt Disney Co. and Netflix Inc began on 2 May this year.

According to the Bloomberg news agency, the provisional three-year deal remains subject to the completion of contract language and recommendations from the union’s council and board, which could come as soon as Tuesday. Members would vote after that.

Hollywood strike and the negotiation:

The writers went on strike for the first time since 2007 to fight for higher pay from streaming services, which have reshaped how TV is made and how talent gets paid. The Screen Actors Guild joined them in July over similar concerns.

The studios have reportedly agreed to staff a certain number of writers on their TV shows. Besides, the two sides have also created a structure in which writers will receive bonuses for popular shows on streaming services. An agreement has also been reached on the use of artificial intelligence, which writers feared could destroy jobs.

Production of hundreds of films and TV shows stopped as a result of the strikes, impacting not just writers and actors but directors, crew members, and industries like catering and real estate. With less money coming in, talent agencies fired workers and studios suspended deals with major producers to cut costs. Awards shows have been delayed and film festivals held without stars. The walkout has delayed the return of new shows for the fall TV season, and many films scheduled to debut this year were pushed into 2024.

The studios and writers didn’t come close to a deal before the onset of the strike, and the studios and writers then didn’t negotiate for months, during which thousands of guild members protested outside the studios’ offices from New York to Los Angeles. While the economics of streaming remained the primary focus of the guilds, the threat of artificial intelligence also emerged as a growing concern.

The heads of the biggest media companies got more engaged with the dispute in late July and early August after the actors joined the strike. The studios offered a new proposal in August that addressed many, but not all, of the writers’ concerns. The two sides negotiated for a couple of weeks before breaking off yet again.

The September negotiations came as a surprise. Studios feared the impact of months more without the ability to produce new programming, and many writers began to push their union’s leadership to cut a deal so everyone could get back to work.

People who work in entertainment, be they writers or grips, were starting to leave Los Angeles due to the lack of progress.

When the latest talks began, four of the most powerful executives in entertainment — Netflix Chief Executive Officer Ted Sarandos, Disney CEO Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. CEO David Zaslav, and NBCUniversal Chief Content Officer Donna Langley — joined their labor negotiators.

The studios and writers negotiated for several days. After months of public acrimony and finger-pointing, the two sides kept their public communications to a minimum as they hammered out a deal to get the industry back to work.

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Updated: 25 Sep 2023, 09:22 AM IST
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