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Hollywood writers’ strike to end Wednesday after WGA, AMPTP deal

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Striking WGA (Writers Guild of America) members hold a sit-in with striking SAG-AFTRA members outside Paramount Studios on September 18, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Mario Tama | getty images

Hollywood writers and studios have finalized a tentative contract language that would end a nearly 150-day labor strike.

Union leaders “voted unanimously to lift the restraining order and end the strike by 12:01 a.m. PT/3:01 a.m. ET on Wednesday, September 27,” the WGA said in a statement.

Negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which includes top studios such as Disney, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros. Discovery, resumed after months of stalling and stalling, ultimately leading to an initial deal. Reached.

The deal will run until May 2026 and includes a 5% minimum wage increase upon ratification of the contract. Another 4% increase will take place on May 2, 2024, and another 3.5% increase will be introduced on May 5, 2025.

The authors were able to achieve significant protections against the use of artificial intelligence. That is, AI cannot write or rewrite literary material and AI-generated material will not be considered source material.

When it comes to streaming, the guild negotiated a new residual based on viewership. High budget subscription video on demand series and movies that are watched by 20% or more of the services’ domestic subscribers in the first 90 days of release receive a bonus equal to 50% of the fixed domestic and overseas balance. Views are calculated by dividing the domestically streamed hours of a season or film by the runtime.

This new structure will take effect on January 1 and means writers will receive a bonus of $9,031 for a half-hour episode, $16,415 for a one-hour episode, or $40,500 for a streaming feature with a budget of more than $30 million.

Streamers will also provide the Guild with the number of total hours streamed domestically and internationally for self-produced high budget streaming programs such as Netflix original series.

Across the board, writers will see an increase in contribution rates for their health and pensions, as well as an increase in contributions to writing teams.

The agreement also improved screenwriter compensation, minimum limits on writers’ rooms, and renewed the showrunner training program for $250,000. among other things.

The negotiating committee recommended the agreement and sent it to the Writers Guild of America West Board and the Writers Guild of America East Council for approval. Both the Board and Council voted to authorize a contract ratification vote by the membership.

WGA members will have until Oct. 9 to cast their vote on the contract, the union said.

Once negotiations with the writers are complete, AMPTP will need to move forward with negotiations with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Acting Guild members have been on strike since mid-July demanding contract updates requested by writers.

The WGA contract could serve as a template for SAG-AFTRA to draft its own deals with Hollywood studios.

Like writers, actors also want to improve pay, working conditions, and health and pension benefits, as well as establish guardrails for the use of AI in future television and film production. Additionally, the union is demanding greater transparency about viewership from streaming services so that balance payments can be brought in line with linear TV.

SAG-AFTRA has also focused on standardizing the self-taping process, which became popular during the pandemic. In the past, actors had a level playing field with individual camera tests, but in recent years, actors have noticed a disparity in auditions between those who can afford quality camera and lighting equipment and those who cannot. .

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is a member of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

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