After nearly five months of going on strike, the Writers Guild of America reached a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Studios represented by the AMPTP include Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery, Amazon, NBC Universal, Paramount, and Sony. Negotiation talks between both sides picked up on Wednesday, September 20. Talks resumed for the next few days, with both sides spending several hours talking.
By Friday, September 22, it was looking likely that a new deal could be announced by Tuesday, September 26. On Saturday, September 23, hope started to slip away. Sites were reporting that AMPTP considered their offer not only their best offer, but their last offer. Members of the WGA were starting to voice their frustrations with the reports on social media. There were concerns that if this offer wasn’t good enough, the strike would continue for several months. Finally, news broke out Sunday night that a new deal between the writers and AMPTP was made.
The deal is a three-year contract that addresses the concerns the WGA had. The deal will be good until May 1, 2026. According to the Los Angeles Times, better pay rates and residual payments for streaming shows have been addressed. According to CBS, writers will get a 12.5% pay increase. The first year will be a 5% increase, followed by a 4% increase for the following year and a 3.5% increase for the last year. All the writers on a writing team will get health and pension contributions. Writers will also get a 76% increase in foreign streaming residuals. The AMPTP will share the number of hours streamed both domestically and internationally.
Rules about Artificial Intelligence or AI have also been implemented. AI cannot write any literacy material or rewrite work. AI cannot be considered source material. Companies can’t force writers to use AI to assist them. If the company is fine with it and the writer follows the company’s policies, writers can use AI to help with their writing. It is also prohibited to exploit the writers’ work to train AI.
The WGA released a statement saying they got the gains and protections they wanted. The contract was officially ratified on September 26, with the strike officially ending after midnight on September 27. The strike lasted around 148 days, the second longest strike. The 1998 Writers’ Strike remains the longest strike with 153 days. Late show hosts, such as Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, announced afterward that they would resume their shows on October 2. Bill Maher, who was going to start his show again during the strike, but decided to postpone it, will return to his show “Real Time with Bill Maher” on September 29. There is no word yet on when “Saturday Night Live” will resume. The reality show “Dancing with the Stars” almost got delayed when actor and competitor Matt Walsh walked off rehearsal until a deal was reached. The show continued as planned, but Walsh was the first competitor eliminated.
While writing will likely resume, Hollywood is still on pause. The Actors’ Strike is still going on, meaning movies and shows still can’t be filmed. There is a growing possibility that video game voice actors could join them in striking. The day after the WGA and AMPTP agreed on a new deal, SAG-AFTRA approved a strike against the major video game companies. Even though talk shows and late shows can resume, actors cannot promote their movies and shows until the Actors’ Strike is over. Delays for movies and shows will likely continue, including projects that are done filming. “Dune: Part II” was delayed to March 15, 2024, due to the Actors’ Strike, despite being ready for its original November 3, 2023, release date.
It was announced that negotiations between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA will resume on Monday, October 2. A deal with the actors could get done in October, but it’s unknown how negotiations will go or if the AMPTP will take the actors’ demands as seriously as they took the writers’ demands. Actors have similar concerns and demands to the writers, including the issue of AI. Studios will likely want a new deal before November. Anticipated movies such as “The Marvels” and “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” are coming out in November, and the studios will want their stars to promote those movies.
Are you glad the Writers’ Strike is over? When do you think the Actors’ Strike will be over? Let us know in the comments below.