By Aaron Miller-
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has announced deal with studio executives, marking a potential end to the almost five-month-long strike that has significantly impacted the entertainment industry.
While this is a pivotal development, WGA members still need to give their final approval for the strike to officially conclude.
This strike, the longest to affect Hollywood in decades, commenced on May 2, and its repercussions have rippled throughout the film and television production landscape. According to estimates by Milken Institute economist Kevin Klowden, the strike has cost the US economy approximately $5 billion.
The dispute revolved around several key issues, including fair compensation, concerns over the growing influence of artificial intelligence in screenwriting, staffing levels, and royalty payments for streaming shows.
Writers argued that their residuals from streaming were a mere fraction of what they would receive from broadcast TV repeats, as the traditional model of additional payments for broadcast repeats was largely undermined by the rise of streaming platforms.
The proposed deal, however, represents significant progress in addressing these concerns. While details are yet to be finalized, the WGA’s message indicated that they were suspending picketing as negotiations reached a pivotal stage.
Hollywood trade publication Variety reported that late-night talk show staff could return to work as soon as Tuesday, potentially resuming broadcasts in October, pending the finalization of the deal.
The strike also had widespread repercussions across various sectors of the entertainment industry, impacting caterers, costume suppliers, carpenters, and camera operators.
In the last few days, top executives from industry giants Netflix, Disney, Universal, and Warner Bros Discovery personally joined the negotiations, injecting new momentum into the discussions.
On a related note, actors have been on strike since mid-July, with their representation falling under the 160,000-strong SAG-AFTRA performers’ union.
While applauding the writers’ progress, SAG-AFTRA emphasized their ongoing commitment to securing a fair deal for their members.
Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, expressed his gratitude for the resolution, highlighting the significance of writers in the state’s thriving entertainment industry.
Reactions within Hollywood have been overwhelmingly positive, with prominent figures like comedian and chat show host Larry Wilmore expressing relief at the development.
Writers who have been on the front lines of the strike also expressed their gratitude and relief for the hard-fought victory.