After five straight days of negotiations, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing Hollywood studios, reached a significant breakthrough. They have tentatively agreed to put an end to the strike that brought virtually every TV and film script writing project to a standstill, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
On Sunday night, news of the tentative agreement was emailed to WGA strike captains, who then informed all members. The email's opening words were, "We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language." Additionally, it mentioned the exceptional nature of the deal, highlighting significant gains and “protections for writers in every sector of the membership.” While specific details of the agreement were not revealed, the guild mentioned in its release that a summary would be provided before the membership ratification votes.
The strike began on May 2 after a unanimous vote from the union's board of directors. This decision came after six weeks of negotiations with some of the biggest studios in the industry including Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony. The strike has lasted an unprecedented 146 days, making it the longest strike in the history of Hollywood, surpassing the previous record of 100 days in 2007.
This news is a big boost for the Writers Guild, however there is still the matter of the striking Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) to consider. Both guilds want better pay and safeguards against the use of artificial intelligence for their members. This demand emerged as the entertainment industry shifted away from traditional theaters and TV towards streaming services. Although writers will finally be able to work on their pending scripts, studios will need actors to take what is on the page and bring it to life. With this tentative agreement reached, hopefully a similar outcome will occur between studios and the Screen Actors Guild.
What’s next after the WGA strike finishes?
Late night TV shows will be rushing to return to the airwaves after the strike officially ends, as reported by Variety. Certain late night producers are apparently already sending emails to their staff members urging them to prepare for a quick return to work, possibly as early as Tuesday. The immediate return would depend on the developments within the WGA. As writers return to their drafts, the halt in production for numerous major projects will continue until SAG secures its own deal.