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Hollywood Writers 'Ink' Tentative 3-Year Deal amid Long-Standing Strike

Published September 26, 2023
9 months ago

A protracted five-month Hollywood strike now hangs in balance as a cautiously optimistic atmosphere prevails. A tentative deal has been agreed on between unionised Hollywood screenwriters and the conglomerate of studios, streaming services, and production companies they work for. This follows days of exhaustive negotiations and could potentially signal a swift return to work for writers, while leaving the concurrent actors strike still at large.

The recent negotiation marathon included the representation of Hollywood's top studio CEOs, the Writers Guild of America (WGA), and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The consensus reached on Sunday night — a standard three-year contract — brings a sense of tentative relief to the industry.

However, to truly underscore the end of the strike, two successful voting processes need to transpire. Initially, the deal must secure approval from the WGA's eastern and western branch boards. Subsequently, the 11,500 members must vote in favour of the freshly minted agreement. A common practice in Hollywood unions, such votes traditionally accompany every three-year contract negotiation and are now more critical than ever given the protracted strike.

In 2008, the last writers' strike, members voted just four days after the board approved the proposed agreement. The agreement was met with overwhelming popular approval as over 90 percent of writers voted in favour. Despite this precedent, the current vote isn't foolproof. There remain members likely disillusioned by the leadership compromises on compensation, writing staff sizes, and AI usage in scriptwriting, especially after months of striking.

The approval will signal different timelines of returning to work for different writers. Late-night talk shows, which were the first to feel the strike's effects, may resume faster than other shows. Return of popular shows like NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, and CBS’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert may happen within days. However, with the ongoing actors' strike still unresolved, the shows' resumption might stir controversy.

The AMPTP has strategically prioritised dealing with the writers' strike — which started two months before the actors' strike — over addressing the ongoing actors' strike. However, with the writers' deal now in the offing, overtures towards resolving the actors' strike are deemed imminent, triggering another round of negotiations.

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