Leaders of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) on Tuesday called off a months-long strike that has paralyzed Hollywood until now, after they finally accepted an agreement with some of the biggest production studios.
Thousands of film and television writers put down their pens on May 2 over demands that include better pay, greater rewards for creating hit shows and protection from artificial intelligence (AI). The strike has brought most film and television production to a halt and is already costing the California economy billions of dollars.
According to a statement, the strike will officially end on Wednesday at 12:01 Los Angeles time.
However, the union’s 11,500 members, who have underlined their power in Hollywood in the months, will now have the final say if they have to vote on the offer between 2 and 9 October.
Details were released on Tuesday about the compensation agreement for writers and it does seem like it was a victory for the writers. Bonuses are set for writers on a series that is watched by 20% or more of a streaming service’s local subscribers in the first 90 days of the relevant series’ release. This is seen as a great advantage for authors, whose returns have dwindled in the age of the online streaming giants.
According to the agreement, AI-generated material cannot be considered “source material” either, which means writers cannot be paid less if they work on a script that AI created.
The guild has also reserved the right to ban the training of AI from authors’ material because they consider it a form of exploitation.
Theoretically, the agreement could still be rejected by the scriptwriters, but most industry experts believe the ratification will be a formality.
Many late-night programs affected by the strike are expected to resume broadcasting next month.
Actors’ strike still deadlocked
Numerous actors, who are members of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (Sag-Aftra), joined writers’ month-long protests outside the offices of production houses such as Netflix and Disney in mid-July.
Even if the writers return to work, things in Hollywood will be far from normal with actors from the Sag-Aftra union still refusing to work. Some of Sag-Aftra’s demands go further than those of the writers’ guild and it is expected to take a few more weeks before there is a resolution to the actors’ strike.
Actors were still on strike outside Netflix’s offices on Tuesday, with members of the writers’ guild there in support.
Strike affects serials and films
Late night talk shows on television were the first to be affected by the writers’ strike because the script for the program is usually written on the same day.
According to Sky News, the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night With Seth Meyers, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and Real Time With Bill Maher all taken off the air after the strike began. The strike has the “live” out Saturday Night Live picked up with NBC airing reruns until further notice, the network announced at the time.
Production of the fifth season of Stranger Things was stopped, while the third season of Yellowjackets and the sixth season of Cobra Kai is also content.
According to Variety is the second season of The Last of Us first stopped due to the strike and the sixth season of The Handmaid’s Tale also delayed after filming would have started late during the US summer.
House of the Dragon ‘s second season was not affected by the strike. According to the author George RR Martin, he already finished the script months ago and the filming is done in the United Kingdom.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power ‘s second season has also finished filming and Disney+ Star Wars’ prequel series Andor continued, although screenwriter Tony Gilroy stepped down from all of his on-set commitments for the time being in solidarity with the writers’ strike.
Films stalled by the strike include Marvel’s vampire thriller Leaves in, as well as Deadpool 3while movies like Ghostbusters 4, Mufasa: The Lion King, Avatar 3 and 4 and Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two and an untitled F1 drama’s production was also affected.