Following marathon negotiations over the last five days, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and major studios have reached a tentative deal to end a 146-day strike that has shut down much of the industry, Variety has reported. “We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership,” the WGA wrote in an email to members.
Picketing has been suspended as of Sunday night, but the strike is still in force until it’s ratified and approved by members. “To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild. We are still on strike until then,” the email stated.
One of the last sticking points was reportedly around the use of generative AI in content production. Other details of the contract have yet to be released, including around streaming residuals, staffing levels for shows and more. “Though we are eager to share the details of what has been achieved with you, we cannot do that until the last ‘i’ is dotted,” wrote the WGA.
Things were looking bleak for the industry in mid-September, but some high-profile WGA members reportedly pressured leadership to restart negotiations. In addition, four key AMPTP executives (Bob Iger from Disney, NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, Ted Sarandos and David Zaslav of Warner Bros. Discovery) participated in negotiations for three days. Bargaining resumed on September 20, and the deal was reached five days later.
Considering the strike length and WGA leadership’s high level of praise for the deal, a positive vote from membership seems probable. The guild credited membership’s solidarity and its willingness to “endure the pain and uncertainty of the past 146 days” as key to clinching the deal. “It is the leverage generated by your strike, in concert with the extraordinary support of our union siblings, that finally brought the companies back to the table to make a deal,” it stated in the message.
The labor strife isn’t finished yet, though. The SAG-AFTRA actors’ guild is still on strike after hitting picket lines on July 14 over issues like likeness rights. “While we look forward to reviewing the WGA and AMPTP’s tentative agreement, we remain committed to achieving the necessary terms for our members,” the union wrote in a statement.
Even after the actors reach their own deal, it will take time for TV series, films, talk shows and other productions to get back up to speed — so expect delays in your favorite shows coming back. The AMPTP has yet to comment on the WGA deal.