Hollywood writers on strike reach tentative deal with studios. What happens next?

WGA is set to vote on the deal on Tuesday

Writers-guild-on-strike-ap Striking writers take part in a rally in front of Paramount Pictures studio, Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in Los Angeles | AP

Even as the writers reach a tentative deal with the studios, all is not well in Hollywood. Though the agreement on a new contract had given a slight relief to the paralysed entertainment sector, actors are still on strike as there is no deal yet on their demands.

Demanding a hike in payments and residuals, Hollywood film and television writers went on strike since May, shutting down late night TV shows and disrupting the industry.

Around 11,000 writers gathered to protest in New York and Los Angeles.

The deal’s details were not announced immediately by Writers Guild of America (WGA). The WGA's negotiating committee said it would share details only after it receives final contract. The agreement would come into effect only after guild’s board vote on the deal and inks it. WGA is set to vote on the deal on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden welcomed the move to reach a consensus on Monday. "I applaud the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for reaching a tentative agreement that will allow writers to return to the important work of telling the stories of our nation, our world -- and of all of us," Biden said in a statement.

What's the deal?

The strike mainly revolved around streaming-related pay and Artificial Intelligence impact. The WGA was able to secure certain concessions on most of their demands from the studios, including increases in royalty payments for streaming content and guarantees that artificial intelligence will not encroach on writers’ credits and compensation, reported The New York Times.

WGA described the deal as "exceptional" with "meaningful gains and protections for writers".

After series of negotiations, the deal was reached after 146 days of strike. Reportedly, the studios had proposed last minute addition of few paragraphs in the new contract that addressed the guild’s concern.

So far, the studios had not commented on the deal.

What’s next?

If the deal is approved then the writers, who are the members of the guild will then vote to ratify the contract.

Though the deal had made the guild leaders call off the protest for now, they also warned them not to return to work until the contract was formalised.

If union leadership approves the deal, they will also vote whether to end the strike-while the rank-and-file vote is still underway.

"This would allow writers to return to work during the ratification vote, but would not affect the membership's right to make a final determination on contract approval," said Writers Guild leaders.

"This was made possible by the enduring solidarity of WGA members and extraordinary support of our union siblings who joined us on the picket lines for over 146 days," the negotiating committee said in a statement Sunday.

Since the actors are still striking, most of the television shows and movies will be unable to resume work.

The writers' agreement will not directly impact the strike by SAG-AFTRA, the union representing more than 1,50,000 actors. However, it is likely that this deal would pave way for negotiation on the next stage with the actors.

The dual strikes in Hollywood had hit hard the industry causing an estimated loss of over $5 billion in California and other production hubs including Georgia, New York and New Mexico.

The strikes had also hit camera operators, carpenters, production assistants and other crew members, as well as the caterers, florists, costume suppliers and other small businesses that support film and television production.

Four top industry executives - Iger, Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos and NBCUniversal (CMCSA.O) Studio Group Chair Donna Langley – joined negotiations this week, helping to end the strike paralysing the industry.


📣 The Week is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TheWeekmagazine) and stay updated with the latest headlines