The big movie and TV studios sent their "best and final offer"to the striking writers on Saturday. This gives a lot of people hope that talks to end the strike, which has been going on for months, will lead to a deal this weekend. Writers Guild of America negotiators were supposed to look over the offer and give their answer.
Saturday was the fourth day in a row that the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers met to talk about a deal. If a tentative deal was made, it would still need to be approved by the regular members before it could be put into place.
WGA writers' strike signage
After four days of talks, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and WGA will meet again on Sunday to try to get a new three-year deal and end the nearly five-month-long writers' strike.
According to Variety, around 5 p.m. PT on Saturday, a 'best and final' offer was sent to WGA officials. On Saturday, lawyers for both management and workers met in person at AMPTP offices. Other important people on both sides closely watched what was going on from afar.
The AMPTP's decision to make a "last, best, and final offer" to the WGA is meant to show the group that the companies will not negotiate the terms of the contract any further in a meaningful way. In collective bargaining, this is a regular way of doing things. The WGA is likely to say yes or no to the AMPTP on Sunday, which suggests that management may have set a deadline. But it's possible that the joint statement was also an attempt to cool things down.
According to a number of sources, the WGA is about to make big gains in pay and perks. The work stoppage put pressure on both sides, and it looks like the guild was able to get the companies to address all of its main concerns before what both sides knew would be a tough contract cycle.
The main thing that happened on Saturday was putting the last touches on the language for complicated and cutting-edge contract problems. This negotiation has had unusually high stakes, which is a sign of how quickly things change in the media and entertainment business as a whole.
Guild negotiators have debated how to regulate the use of generative artificial intelligence and other ground-breaking parts of the WGA's minimum basic agreement, such as a formula for a minimum staff guarantee for episodic TV and a "success-based" residual from subscription platforms that are meant to put more money into the WGA's pension and health funds.
During the meeting at the AMPTP office in Sherman Oaks, the parties seemed to have reached an agreement on AI, the number of people working in the writing room, and the last remaining points of disagreement.
With Netflix's Ted Sarandos, Universal's Donna Langley, Disney's Bob Iger, and Warner Bros. Discovery's David Zaslav taking part from away, lawyers are now said to be hard at work on the final language for a three-year deal.
The CEO of Four didn't show up in the room even though they had been there for the past three days trying to close the deal. California Gov. Gavin Newsom called the top officials and executives, as he has for the past few days, to find out where things stood and where they were going.
The WGA, which has more than 11,000 members, has been on strike since May 2, and on Saturday, the strike will have been going on for 145 days. The longest strike in the union's history, which ran 154 days in 1988, will be over in two weeks. Before SAG-AFTRA joined the WGA on strike on July 14, many movies had already been put on hold. During talks between the WGA and the AMPTP, there have been disagreements about pay, protections for workers, and artificial intelligence.
Even if a tentative agreement were made, it would still need to be approved by the regular members before it could be put into place. Even after that, a stop to the WGA strike wouldn't do much to get shows back on track without a deal with SAG-AFTRA, which represents about 160,000 actors.
The WGA went on strike on May 2, and the work stoppage is now in its 145th day. The longest strike in the union's history, which ran 154 days in 1988, was only two weeks longer. Before SAG-AFTRA joined the WGA on strike on July 14, many movies had already been put on hold.
In the most recent talks between the WGA and studio CEOs, a deal that would end the writers' strike that has been going on for almost five months seems close. During today's meeting at the AMPTP office in Sherman Oaks, both sides seem to have found a way to move forward on AI, writing room staffing numbers, and the last remaining points of disagreement. After a full day of talks between the WGA and AMPTP, the guild's lawyers are looking over what the studios call their "best and final offer."