LOS ANGELES — Union leaders and Hollywood studios have reached a tentative agreement to end a historic screenwriters strike that has lasted for nearly five months. However, there is still no deal in place for striking actors.
The Writers Guild of America announced the deal in a statement.
The three-year contract agreement was settled after five days of renewed talks between negotiators for the Writers Guild of America and an alliance of studios, streaming services, and production companies. The agreement must now be approved by the guild’s board and members before the strike can officially end.
The specific terms of the deal have not been announced yet. However, in the previous writers’ strike in 2008, the tentative deal was approved by over 90% of the members.
As a result of this agreement, nightly network shows like NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” could return to the air within days.
However, while writers may be able to start working again, the situation is not back to normal in Hollywood. Talks between studios and striking actors have not yet resumed, and crew members who were left without work during the strike will remain unemployed for now.
The negotiations to end the writers’ strike resumed after a month with chief executives, including Bob Iger of Disney, Ted Sarandos of Netflix, David Zaslav of Warner Bros. Discovery, and Donna Langley of NBCUniversal, directly participating in the discussions.
Around 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America went on strike on May 2, citing issues of pay, the size of writing staffs on shows, and the use of artificial intelligence in script creation. Actors joined the strike in July but so far, there have been no discussions about resuming negotiations with their union.
The writers’ strike immediately impacted late-night talk shows and “Saturday Night Live,” which went on hiatus. It also affected numerous scripted shows, such as Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” HBO’s “The Last of Us,” and ABC’s “Abbot Elementary,” as well as films like “Deadpool 3” and “Superman: Legacy.” The Emmy Awards were postponed from September to January.
More recently, writers targeted talk shows that were working around strike rules to return to the air, including “The Drew Barrymore Show,” “Real Time With Bill Maher,” and “The Talk.” However, these shows reversed course and are likely to return soon.
The combined strikes marked a pivotal moment in Hollywood as creative labor confronted executives in an industry disrupted by technology, including the shift to streaming and the potential impact of AI in the future.
While screenwriters have historically gone on strike more than any other group in the industry, there had been a relatively long period of labor peace until negotiations for a new contract collapsed in the spring. This strike was their first since 2007 and their longest since 1988.
On July 14, more than two months into the strike, the writers received support from 65,000 striking film and television actors. It was the first time the two groups had gone on strike together since 1960, when the writers’ strike started first and ended second. This time, studios chose to address the writers’ demands first.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the organization representing employers in negotiations, initially suggested resuming talks in August. However, the meetings were unproductive and talks were put on hold for another month.