And end in sight? Striking writers and Hollywood studios resume negotiations for second day

Hollywood studios and striking screenwriters are resuming negotiations for the second day in a row Thursday

Via AP news wire
Thursday 21 September 2023 19:00 BST

Hollywood studios and striking screenwriters are resuming negotiations for the second consecutive day Thursday. The talks could potentially put an end to the nearly five-month dispute that has brought many film and television productions to a halt.

In a rare joint statement issued Wednesday night, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the industry’s studios, streaming services and production companies in union negotiations, and the Writers Guild of America, said that they’d met for bargaining Wednesday and would continue Thursday. Present at the meeting were a group of top entertainment CEOs including Disney’s Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav, Universal’s Donna Langley and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos. The four are likely to be present at the talks Thursday as well.

CNBC reporter David Faber wrote on X, previously Twitter, Wednesday that the writers and AMPTP were “near” an agreement and “hope to finalize the deal,” according to his anonymous sources. He also said his sources warned that should the deal not close, the strike is likely to continue until the end of the year.

No other outlet has been able to corroborate Faber’s report. Deadline reported, however, that Wednesday’s negotiations were “very encouraging.” Representatives for the AMPTP, the WGA and other entertainment companies did not respond immediately to request for comment.

The two sides have been divided on issues of pay, the size of writing staffs on shows and the use of artificial intelligence in how scripts are created. Actors, who joined the writers on strike in July, have their own issues but there have been no discussions about resuming negotiations with their union yet.

A previous attempt to restart talks fell flat. The two sides had a handful of meetings in mid-August, including one that included the heads of Disney, Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery.

But writers said that after exchanging contract proposals, “they were met with a lecture about how good their single and only counteroffer was,” and the talks trailed off.

The WGA strike is nearing record length. Should it continue through Sept. 30, it will be the longest in the union’s history and the longest Hollywood strike since 1945.

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