• Friday, June 21, 2024

Entertainment

Hollywood writers reach tentative deal with studios to end nearly 5-month-old strike

The deal was agreed on after five days of negotiations after a meeting with union officials and four top media CEOs that began on September 20 and stretched into the weekend.

Representational image from iStock

By: Mohnish Singh

Nearly five months after Hollywood screenwriters went on strike, a tentative deal has been struck to end the impasse between writers and studios that has impacted the television and movie industry.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) on Sunday signed a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), a labour group representing studios and streaming services, Deadline reported.

The writers’ strike began on May 2 this year after 11,500 WGA members stopped working when their contract expired. Among the issues they were protesting included increased pay, the use of Artificial Intelligence in the creation of scripts, and the size of diminished writing staffs linked to streaming show performance.

“The WGA and AMPTPT have reached a tentative agreement,” the two groups said in a joint statement on Sunday evening.

“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,” the WGA told its members in a release, which the US-based media outlet Deadline said came after five days of long negotiations.

The deal was agreed on after five days of negotiations after a meeting with union officials and four top media CEOs that began on September 20 and stretched into the weekend.

Details of the WGA’s tentative agreement have not been released but will be revealed by the guild ahead of membership ratification votes.

The next steps in the process will see the WGA negotiating committee vote on “whether to recommend the agreement and send it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval” in votes tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, the guild said on Sunday, as per Deadline.

The three-year contract agreement must be approved by the guild’s board and members before the strike officially ends.

The WGA informed its members that it is still on strike, but that all protests are currently suspended.

More than 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America had begun the strike in May, claiming they aren’t paid fairly in the streaming era.

“Though we negotiated intent on making a fair deal … the studios’ responses to our proposals have been wholly insufficient, given the existential crisis writers are facing,” said a statement from the union leadership.

Meanwhile, the 160,000-member Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), a labour union that has been on strike since July this year against film and television industries has congratulated the WGA on “getting over the biggest hurdles with AMPTP”.

“SAG-AFTRA congratulates the WGA on reaching a tentative agreement with the AMPTP after 146 days of incredible strength, resiliency, and solidarity on the picket lines. While we look forward to reviewing the WGA and AMPTP’s tentative agreement, we remain committed to achieving the necessary terms for our members,” the statement cited by Variety said.

“Since the day the WGA strike began, SAG-AFTRA members have stood alongside the writers on the picket lines. We remain on strike in our TV/Theatrical contract and continue to urge the studio and streamer CEOs and the AMPTP to return to the table and make the fair deal that our members deserve and demand,” the SAG-AFTRA added.

According to US-based media outlet Variety, this was the second time in the history of Hollywood that actors had joined writers on the picket lines.

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