The ongoing writers’ strike that has paralyzed the entertainment industry for five months may finally see a breakthrough, as some of the top executives from major studios have joined the negotiations with the Writers Guild of America (WGA).
The writers’ strike began on April 1, 2023, after the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed to reach a new contract agreement. The main issues of contention are the residuals for streaming services, the compensation for short seasons, and the inclusion of diversity and inclusion initiatives.
The strike has affected hundreds of TV shows and movies, as well as thousands of workers in the industry. Many productions have been delayed, canceled, or rewritten by non-union members. The strike has also impacted the award season, as some of the major ceremonies have been postponed or scaled down.
On Tuesday, September 21, 2023, a meeting was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel between the WGA leadership and a group of top studio executives. The meeting was arranged by former Disney CEO Robert A. Iger, who has been acting as a mediator between the two sides.
Among the executives who attended the meeting were Ted Sarandos, a co-chairman of Netflix; David Zaslav, the chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery; Donna Langley, the chief content officer of Universal Pictures; and Jon Feltheimer, the chief executive of Lionsgate. They represented some of the biggest players in the streaming market, which is at the center of the dispute.
The meeting lasted for about three hours, and was described as “productive” and “constructive” by both sides. The executives expressed their willingness to work with the WGA to find a fair and sustainable solution. They also acknowledged the importance of writers in creating quality content for their platforms.
The Next Steps
The meeting was seen as a positive sign that the strike could end soon, as both sides agreed to resume formal negotiations on Friday, September 24, 2023. The WGA told its members that it was hopeful that the talks would lead to a deal that would address their core demands.
However, some challenges still remain, as the AMPTP has not officially changed its stance or made any new offers. The WGA has also warned its members not to be complacent or optimistic until a deal is reached. The WGA has said that it will continue to strike until a satisfactory agreement is signed.