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    WGA Strike: Day 144. “Progress” reportedly made on 2nd day of talks with Studio bosses

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    DEADLINE: By Dominic PattenAnthony D’Alessandro
    Sept. 21st, 2023  UPDATE, 6:36 PM: Negotiators for the WGA and the AMPTP plus top studio CEOs are continuing their talks tonight on a deal to end nearly five months of strikes.

    Moving into over 8 hours of direct deliberations so far today, , the parties, which include Netflix’s Ted SarandosUniversal’s Donna LangleyWarner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav and Disney’s Bob Iger, took a brief break Thursday before returning to bargaining.

    Similar in kind to how events played out in the final hours of the 2017 talks, no indication right now if the two sides are cramming to get a tentative deal done, or riding the progress sources say they have made this week. An anticipated 6 PM update from the guild and the AMPTP has come and passed. CLICK FOR STORY 

    By Leslie Goldberg, Katie Kilkenny Sept. 20th, 2023

    Confirming the feeling of urgency taking hold around town to resolve the historic, ongoing writers strike, a group of top CEOs attended Wednesday’s bargaining session between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. CLICK FOR FULL STORY.

    Disney CEO Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos and NBCUniversal Studio Group chairman and chief content officer Donna Langley were all present at the meeting that began around 10 a.m. PT, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

    It’s highly unusual for the industry bargaining representative, the AMPTP, to include CEOs directly in bargaining sessions, which are usually led on the studio and streamer side by labor relations representatives and top AMPTP staffers. But the industry-wide crisis resulting from the ongoing writers and actors strikes has pushed company leaders to become more directly involved in talks.

    Variety: Drew Barrymore Halts Talk Show Return After Backlash,
    Will Resume When Strike Ends

    By Rebecca Rubin Elizabeth Wagmeister Sept. 17th, 2023

    Drew Barrymore isn’t bringing back her daytime talk show “The Drew Barrymore Show” until the strike ends, after all. The decision comes a week after the actor was criticized for saying “The Drew Barrymore Show” would premiere on Sept. 18 in compliance with WGA guidelines and without writers. CLICK FOR STORY.

    “I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” Barrymore wrote on Instagram. “I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt and, of course, to our incredible team who works on the show and has made it what it is today. We really tried to find our way forward. And I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon.”

    Lorne Michaels, Dwayne Johnson Among Deals Suspended at NBCUniversal

    By Leslie Goldberg. Sept. 11th. NBCUniversal’s Universal Studio Group has suspended Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video and Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks, along with an unknown number of other film and TV deals, as the ongoing labor clash between the writers guild and Hollywood’s studios and streamers enters its 20th week. CLICK FOR STORY

    Bad Robot, Greg Berlanti, Chuck Lorre, Mindy Kaling, Among Overall Deals Suspended at Warners

    Sept. 6th, 2023 By Lesley Goldberg  

    The WGA strike has reached the upper echelon of overall deals at Warner Bros. Television Group.

    Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the studio has suspended a number of overall deals for its top creatives including J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot (Duster), Greg Berlanti (Superman & Lois), Chuck Lorre (Bob Hearts Abishola), Bill Lawrence (Shrinking), John Wells (Maid), Mindy Kaling (Sex Lives of College Girls). Sources say Lorre’s multiyear pact with his decades-long studio was quietly suspended in May, a week into the strike. CLICK FOR STORY.

    DEADLINE  By Denise Petski August 31st, 2023 

    A new Gallup Poll released Wednesday finds an overwhelming majority of Americans support writers and actors over studios in the ongoing dual Hollywood strikes. CLICK for the story.

    Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll, conducted August 1-23, found Americans sympathize more with television and film writers than with television and film production studios by a staggering 72% to 19%. Sympathy for television and film actors is nearly as high, at 67%, while 24% side with the studios.

    “Breaking” to support the strike

    THR: 8.29.23 The cast of ‘Breaking Bad’, including Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Jesse Plemons, as well as the cast of ‘Better Call Saul’, joined the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strike picket line outside Sony Pictures Studio in solidarity with striking actors and writers. They spoke about the issues on the table that matter to them most, including residuals and the use AI.

    August 25th, 2023 By Leslie Goldberg 

    Following an eventful week in which members of the Writers Guild of America as well as the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers traded barbs following the publication of the studios’ counteroffer, no talks are currently scheduled for the two parties to return to the negotiating table.

    The standstill comes after the AMPTP on Aug. 22 went public with its first counteroffer since the studios’ initial response in May to the WGA’s original proposal mere days after the strike began. The release of the proposal — which was dated Aug. 11 but sent out publicly this Tuesday — includes gains in residuals and protections against artificial intelligence, was slammed by the WGA as a ploy “not to bargain, but to jam us” with the counteroffer dubbed not “nearly enough.”

    DEADLINE: August 21st, 2023 By David Robb

    The New York Film and Television Union Coalition is praising a pair of identical bills pending in New York State that would “prohibit applicants to the Empire State film production credit from using artificial intelligence that would displace any natural person in their productions.”

    The coalition is made up of SAG-AGTRA, the WGA East, the Directors Guild of America, the Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600), the Editors Guild (IATSE Local 700), United Scenic Artists (IATSE Local 829), IATSE Local 52, and Teamsters Local 817. The use of artificial intelligence in the production of film and TV shows is a key strike issue for both the Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA, which have been on strike since May 2 and July 14, respectively. The DGA’s new contract, which was ratified in June, contains guardrails on its use, and IATSE, which will begin contract negotiations next year, has said that artificial intelligence “threatens to fundamentally alter employers’ business models and disrupt IATSE members’ livelihoods.”


    THR: August 2nd, 2023 By Kim Masters. Why did he do it? That’s the question many in Hollywood have asked in the wake of Bob Iger’s now-infamous July 13 interview with CNBC in bucolic Sun Valley.

    What possessed Iger to pick such a place and time to express his “disappointment” with the demands of the striking talent guilds? Not only was he at the gathering known as “billionaires’ camp,” but just the day before, Disney announced that his contract was being extended to 2026, meaning his estimated net worth ($690 million in 2019, according to Forbes) was going to go up millions.

    Iger expressed frustration that the guilds were not, in his view, grasping the problems facing the industry. “There’s a level of expectation that they have that is just not realistic,” he said. “And they are adding to the set of the challenges that this business is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive.”

    A few days later, SAG-AFTRA’s Fran Drescher struck back using the kind of disparaging language that Iger can hardly have heard before. “There he is sitting in his designer clothes, just got off his private jet at the billionaires’ camp, telling us we’re unrealistic,” she said. “How do you deal with someone like that who’s so tone-deaf? Are you an ignoramus?”


    The NYT: July 14th, 2023

    About 160,000 television and movie actors went on strike Friday joining screenwriters who walked off the job in May and setting off Hollywood’s first industrywide shutdown in 63 years. The leaders of the union, SAG-AFTRA, approved a strike on Thursday, hours after contract talks with a group of studios broke down.

    “What’s happening to us is happening across all fields of labor,” said Fran Drescher, SAG-AFTRA’s president. “When employers make Wall Street and greed their priority and they forget about the essential contributors who make the machine run, we have a problem.”

    Here’s what to know:

    • The actors last staged a major walkout in 1980, when a still-nascent home video rental and sales boom was a sticking point. The current labor dispute involves wages, residuals (a type of royalty), artificial intelligence and other matters. Read about the central issues.

    • The actors’ walkout would provide additional support to the striking writers, who have been walking picket lines for more than 75 days. Their union, the Writers Guild of America, has yet to return to bargaining with the studios.

    By Peter Lance: June 24th Underscoring what’s at stake for the ongoing WGA strike, now on Day 77. I joined a dozen veteran writers for an informational picket outside The Apple Store on State Street in Santa Barbara.  CLICK HERE for my piece in The Montecito Journal. It was a heartfelt experience for me and important for the group to bring the strike to our town, after picketing for weeks with our fellow members in L.A. and here’s why:

    Thirty six years ago I was admitted to the legendary Writers Guild of America, which has protected me for more than three decades as a writer in scripted dramatic television. Fourteen months after I joined, while working as a story editor on MIAMI VICE, my branch of the Guild, the WGA West, went on strike.

    We “put pencils down” and hit the bricks with picket signs demanding fair wages from the studios and television networks that made fortunes on our work. That work stoppage lasted 153 days — the longest in the WGA’s history – a week longer than the first strike in 1960. Then, in 2007, two decades after I got my WGA card, we went to the streets again in a protracted strike that lasted 100 days.

    Each time we were out, the economic loss was devastating but the pain was worth it, because we made gains, not only in our pay scale and working conditions but in our pension and health benefits.

    Since then, every three years, as contracts expired, The Guild Negotiating Committee made incremental gains and struck new deals with The AMPTP: The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

    But back then, beyond the limited number of feature films released each year, the lion’s share of work came in Broadcast Network Television and that was largely what our Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) with the Producers was based on. But now…


    The Streaming Space has grown exponentially. Instead of 20-22 hours-a-year of prime time one-hour dramas or 30-minute sitcoms, there are “limited seasons” of binge-worthy series, consumed by viewers on a multitude of platforms.

    This time, instead of giving the hard working members of “writer’s rooms,” parity and a pay scale, not just in line with inflation but with the millions of “clicks” that hit series on Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu now receive, The Producers have demanded fewer writers and more limited “seasons.”

    So while the streaming bosses are guaranteed annual compensation in the tens of millions, writers — the very creators of the content — have been reduced to Gig Workers.


    During months of pre-negotiations and weeks of head-to-head talks, the AMPTP came up with the response to our requests below.

    As you’ll see, on multiple issues they refused to even make counter offers — effectively locking out the WGA on crucial new terms related to streaming: the very essence of why we’re striking.

    In fact, if you read the WGA PROPOSALS and AMPTP OFFERS in detail, you’ll see that our asks would earn our 11,500+ writers a total of $429 million-a-year in gains — while The Producers have offered only about $86 million a year; 48% of which is for the kind of incremental increases in minimums that allowed them to stave off multiple Strikes since 2008.

    In monetary terms our total asks represent less than 1% of each studio’s annual revenue. Considering the record profits earned over those 15 years by the studios, networks and streamers, their unwillingness to help all boats rise on the tide seems shameful.

    The Screen Actors Guild (SAG/AFTRA) recently approved a Strike Authorization by 97.91% of their members ahead of the expiration of their contract with the AMPTP June 30th. They’re now in the thick of negotiations but have stood strong with the WGA.

    Remember that no feature film, episodic drama, soap opera or sitcom was ever produced before a member of The Greatest Union ever, typed the words: FADE IN and created the magic that is now, and always has been, “The stuff that dreams are made of.”

    If you’re in New York or Los Angeles, or any of the multiple strike sites nationwide, take a few hours and visit one of the picket-line locations to show your support for the members of the WGA who are striking for the betterment of their working lives.

    The latest coverage from The Hollywood Reporter:

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