The Writers Guild of America and major Hollywood studios are nearing an agreement that would end a 145-day strike that has rocked the film and television industries and led to thousands of job losses.
Lawyers for both sides worked on the details of a tentative agreement Saturday during a meeting that began mid-morning, according to people close to the discussions who were not authorized to comment.
Saturday was the fourth consecutive day of negotiations, which began on Wednesday with the direct participation of the heads of four major studios.
If the companies reach an agreement this weekend, they will not immediately resume production. Entertainment executives must continue to focus their attention on the 160,000-member artists’ union SAG-AFTRA to accelerate these stalled talks and get the industry back to work.
The most sensitive issues in the long-standing labor dispute included the wording regulating the use of artificial intelligence, the minimum staffing of writers’ rooms and the determination of residual amounts for remuneration of screenwriters based on the number of viewers of streaming series.
The work stoppage began in early May and gained momentum when actors led by SAG-AFTRA joined writers on the picket line in mid-July, further crippling scripted film and television productions and jeopardizing studios’ ability to promote potential blockbuster films. disabled.
Any agreement on a new three-year contract for film and television would have to be ratified by a vote of the 11,500 WGA members, who strongly supported the strike and enjoyed an unusually high level of solidarity from their union colleagues during the country’s “hot labor summer.” ”
In recent weeks there has been considerable pressure on both sides to reach an agreement. Many workers in the Hollywood industry struggled to pay their rent and bills, and some moved out of state to make ends meet. The studios also felt the financial problems, changed their film plans and relied on television without a script.
WGA negotiators met with studio representatives Wednesday for the first time since a disastrous meeting in late August. This week, top executives took part in the event: Bob Iger of Walt Disney Co., Ted Sarandos of Netflix, David Zaslav of Warner Bros. Discovery and Donna Langley of NBCUniversal.
Friday’s marathon meeting began at 11 a.m. at the headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers – which represents major entertainment companies – in Sherman Oaks. The meeting ended around 8:30 p.m., amid growing hopes that the sides could reach an agreement before the Yom Kippur holiday.