UPDATED, 6:02 PM: After a full day of negotiations between the WGA and AMPTP, the guild’s lawyers are reviewing what the studios call their “best and final offer.” We understand that the WGA is going over deal points, and we should have more clarity on Sunday.
PREVIOUSLY, 1:22 PM: A deal in the latest negotiations between the WGA and studios CEOs to end the nearly five-month-long writers strike looks within sight.
During the meeting today at the AMPTP Sherman Oaks office, the parties appear to have essentially untangled their stalemate over AI, writing room staffing levels, and the last remaining matters of contention.
With Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Universal’s Donna Langley, Disney’s Bob Iger and Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav participating from afar, attorneys are now said to be deep-in working on final language for a three-year deal.
The lack of in-room attendance from the CEO Gang of Four comes after the group had been present in person for the past three days trying to seal the deal. As he has over the past couple of days, California Gov. Gavin Newsom made calls today to the top negotiators and execs to check in about where things stood and where they’re going, we’re told.
With deliberations starting around 10 a.m. as Ellen Stutzman led the WGA negotiating committee and AMPTP’s Carol Lombardini on the other side of the table, today was always going to be about final details, sources say. To that end, lawyers took center stage for the most part to translate their employers’ deal points into formal language.
“The intention was always to wrap this up by the weekend,” an insider tells us. “That was the desire on both sides of the table.”
It looks like a tentative agreement could be finalized before the end of the day if the WGA lawyers sign off on what their AMPTP counterparts hand over – – therefore not seeping over into the Yom Kippur holiday.
Once the language of the WGA deal is done, and the contract is ratified by membership, the next step for the AMPTP is to be making a deal with SAG-AFTRA — which will definitely have its own set of challenges. SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and other leaders in the actors’ union have been kept closely appraised by their fellow guild of the machinations of the back-and-forth between the WGA and the AMPTP over the past 96 hours, we’re told.
Despite gripes in the room over press leaks, and last-minute asks by the WGA on Thursday night, several sources inform us that talks have not been contentious, and have just kept moving. One person with knowledge of the situation equated Thursday to “an ant rolling a boulder up the hill.”
We have yet to hear the exact terms as to when writers can put pen to scripts for the studios, and producers can start sending out specs to agents. On the mind of many is getting the new TV season underway.
With the weekend box office reaching a new all-time low for 2023 this weekend at $49M — that’s a problem largely stemming from actors unable to promote their movies due to the SAG-AFTRA walkout. One executive last night called the 2024 theatrical release calendar as “not real,” meaning given the ADR, and last minute shoots, and even uncompleted productions on several movies next year, we’re bound to see more release date changes.
This is the 145th day of the WGA Strike. The longest was in 1988 at 154 days. SAG-AFTRA is on its 72nd day of the strike.
Economists have estimated that the dual strikes have spelled a $5 billion blow to the state of California.