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WGA, Hollywood studios reportedly closing in on deal after months-long strike

Hollywood studios, WGA closing in on deal to end months-long strike
Hollywood studios, WGA closing in on deal to end months-long strike 02:32

Negotiators for the striking Writers Guild of America and studio representatives were planning to meet again Sunday to continue work "in the final phase" of contract talks to potentially end a monthslong strike that's crippled the entertainment industry, according to multiple media reports Saturday.

According to the major industry trade publications and CNN, legal teams were said to be going over the fine points of complex issues such as residuals for streamed content and the use of artificial intelligence to create content.

The sides were back at the bargaining table Saturday after talks during the previous three days failed to yield an agreement, although management insiders claimed progress was being made.

The WGA and AMPTP issued a joint statement Saturday night announcing the sides will meet again Sunday.

The so-called "Gang of Four" major studio bosses -- Netflix's Ted Sarandos, Disney's Bob Iger, Universal's Donna Langley and Warner Bros/Discovery's David Zaslav, were present at the negotiations Friday for the third consecutive day, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

CNN reported that those four were no longer in the Sherman Oaks negotiating room by Saturday afternoon, possibly signaling that the major issues had been resolved.

Representatives from the WGA and AMPTP met Wednesday for the first time since mid-August, then met again Thursday.

Writers, who went on strike May 2, were joined on the picket line in July by the SAG-AFTRA actors' union. There have been no known contract talks between the studios and SAG-AFTRA since that strike began.

Both unions are pushing for protections against the use of artificial intelligence and improvements in salary, particularly for successful streaming programs.

With negotiations seemingly stalled earlier this month, the WGA negotiating team issued a statement suggesting that some traditional Hollywood studios should break ranks with the AMPTP and reach a deal directly with the writers' union. The WGA suggested it has spoken with some studio executives who believe a deal could be quickly struck.

"So, while the intransigence of the AMPTP structure is impeding progress, these behind-the-scenes conversations demonstrate there is a fair deal to be made that addresses our issues," according to the WGA negotiating team. "... We have made it clear that we will negotiate with one or more of the major studios, outside the confines of the AMPTP, to establish the new WGA deal.

"There is no requirement that the companies negotiate through the AMPTP. So, if the economic destabilization of their own companies isn't enough to cause a studio or two or three to either assert their own self-interest inside the AMPTP, or to break away from the broken AMPTP model, perhaps Wall Street will finally make them do it."

The AMPTP, however, issued a statement of its own saying all of its members are committed to working within the alliance to reach a deal for all studios.

"The AMPTP member companies are aligned and are negotiating together to reach a resolution," a statement from the alliance said. "Any suggestion to the contrary is false.

"Every member company of the AMPTP wants a fair deal for writers and actors and an end to the strikes, which are affecting not only our writer and actor colleagues, but also thousands of others across the industry. That is why the AMPTP has repeatedly put forward offers that address major priorities of the WGA, including a last round of offers on Aug. 17 and 18."

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