Hollywood screenwriters and studios have reached a tentative agreement to bring an end to the protracted writers’ strike that has paralyzed the TV and movie industry for nearly five months.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced this historic deal late on a recent Sunday, following negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents studios, streaming services, and producers in these crucial talks.
A statement from Writers Guild West’s official social media account read, “The WGA and AMPTP have reached a tentative agreement. This was made possible by the enduring solidarity of WGA members and the extraordinary support of our union allies who stood with us for over 146 days.” However, it is important to note that the strike will only officially end after the guild’s board and members give their approval. Meanwhile, negotiations between Hollywood actors and the studios remain unresolved, as the 160,000-member strong SAG-AFTRA has been on strike since July.
SAG-AFTRA congratulated the WGA negotiators and expressed its readiness to review the terms of the tentative agreement. Their statement affirmed, “We look forward to reviewing the terms of the WGA and AMPTP’s tentative agreement. And we remain ready to resume our own negotiations with the AMPTP as soon as they are prepared to engage on our proposals in a meaningful way.”
This breakthrough comes after months of stalled talks and a recent, rare joint meeting on September 20 between union officials and four top media CEOs: Disney’s Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav, NBCUniversal Studio Group’s Donna Langley, and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos. These marathon discussions continued through the weekend, ultimately leading to Sunday’s announcement.
The writers’ strike commenced on May 2 when 11,500 WGA members ceased work after their contract had expired, marking the first writers’ strike since the 100-day walkout in 2007-08. In an unprecedented move, SAG-AFTRA, Hollywood’s actors’ union, joined screenwriters on the picket lines on July 13, marking the first joint strike in over six decades.
Screenwriters had been advocating for increased pay and addressing the reduction in writing staffs for shows in the streaming era. They also raised concerns about the use of artificial intelligence in script creation. This historic strike had halted TV and movie production, causing late-night shows and daytime talk shows to go dark. Several shows had initially planned to resume production amid the strike but reversed their decisions due to social media backlash and picketers. With the strike now resolved, these shows can resume airing immediately.
The strike had forced networks to revamp their fall TV schedules with reruns, reality shows, and game shows. If the strike had persisted into October, it could have resulted in the cancellation of the entire TV season. With this breakthrough, should actors swiftly reach a settlement, scripted TV show production could recommence within weeks, and new episodes may be ready for broadcast early next year.