‘Finally!’ The Last of Us screenwriter among those celebrating ‘tentative’ WGA deal that could end strike

WGA members will vote this week whether to end strike after 146 days

Isobel Lewis
Monday 25 September 2023 10:03 BST
Drew Barrymore slammed for now-deleted apology video

TV and film writers are praising a “tentative” deal reached by the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood studio bosses, which could end the writers’ strike.

On Sunday (24 September), after 146 days on the picket lines, the WGA announced that a deal had been struck. It followed five days of further negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the group which represents studios, streaming services and producers in negotiations.

More than 11,000 WGA members have been on strike since 2 May over issues including pay and the threat of artificial intelligence (AI). The terms of the new contract, which the  described as “exceptional” with “meaningful gains and protections for writers”, must now be approved by the guild’s board and members before the strike officially ends.

Comedian and writer Adam Conover, a member of the WGA negotiating committee who has been a constant presence on the picketlines, shared his relief in the “tentative” deal.

“We did it. We have a tentative deal,” he wrote on Twitter/X. “Over the coming days, we’ll discuss and vote on it, together, as a democratic union. But today, I want to thank every single WGA member, and every fellow worker who stood with us in solidarity. You made this possible.”

Chat show host Larry Wilmore reacted to the news on Twitter, writing: "Finally!!!"

Alex Zaragoza, a writer on Amazon Freevee series Primo, said she reacted to the news by “crying, screaming, throwing up, crying again”.

She tweeted: “This strike has been so hard. Necessary and invigorating, and really f***ing hard. But we did it! We fought together.”

Craig Mazin, the writer of HBO’s The Last of Us, posted on Threads that production on season two would resume if the deal was agreed upon.

“Very proud of the WGA and its membership, and excited to get back to work on The Last of Us season 2,” he wrote. “The strike has not yet been officially lifted, but the second it is, we will spring into action!”

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Writer Caroline Renard of Disney’s Secrets Of Sulphur Springs, who has been a strike captain on the picket lines, was also among those celebrating the agreement news.

She tweeted: “We got a deal. That was the hardest I’ve worked in forever. Captain signing off!”

Announcing the deal, days before the strike was set to become the longest in the union’s history, the WGA said: “What we have won in this contract – most particularly, everything we have gained since 2 May – is due to the willingness of this membership to exercise its power, to demonstrate its solidarity, to walk side-by-side, to endure the pain and uncertainty of the past 146 days.

Writers picketing outside Netflix in California earlier this month

“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.”

As a result of the agreement, shows such as The Drew Barrymore Show could return to the air within days.

Earlier this month, the ET star announced that she would be bringing her talk show back without writers in spite of the strike. However, after facing significant criticism, Barrymore U-turned and said that her show would remain paused until a deal was reached.

The end of the writers’ strike won’t end the standstill in Hollywood, however. Talks have not yet resumed between studios and striking actors who are part of actors’ union SAG-AFTRA.

The union, which represents around 160,000 members of the industry, has been on strike since 14 July, causing a major stalling of multiple Hollywood productions.

The organisation tweeted: “To our fellow union siblings who serve on the WGA Negotiating Committee, we extend our heartfelt congratulations on securing a tentative agreement with the AMPTP.

“We applaud your dedication and unwavering solidarity over the last five months and are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as creative partners in the entertainment industry.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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