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Hollywood writers agree to end five-month strike after new studio deal | Ents & Arts News


Hollywood film and TV writers are going back to work after nearly 150 days on strike in a dispute over pay, staffing levels and the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI).

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) said it had agreed a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which is made up of the likes of Netflix, Warner Bros and Disney.

In a post on social media, the union said it had reached a “tentative agreement with the AMPTP” and its negotiating committee had now “voted unanimously to recommend” it.

The strike ends at 12.01am pacific time (8.01am BST) on Wednesday, the WGA said.

The agreement means most minimum pay would increase by 5%, then by 4% next year and 3.5% in 2025, it added.

Included in that is also residual payments – when writers continue to make money for their work when shows are aired on television or sold on to streaming services – something studios initially pushed back on.

There is also now a sliding scale for the size of writers rooms, with shows running for more than 13 episodes needing to have at least six staff writers. They will also have to be employed for at least 10 weeks while programmes are in development, or for three weeks per episode for shows going to air.

Writers also achieved concessions on health care and pensions.

As well as pay and conditions, writers won agreements over how AI is used, which had become one of the key issues of the strike.

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Hollywood writers’ deal explained

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Under the terms of the deal, storylines generated by AI will not be seen as “source” material, and writers can not be made to use the technology in their work.

Though the strike will end, guild members will still need to ratify the agreement, with voting taking place between 2 October and 9 October.

But in the meantime, members are encouraged to go back to work.

Late night US talk shows hosted by the likes of Jimmy Fallon and John Oliver are set to among the first to return to screens.

Drew Barrymore, who hosts her own chat show on CBS, was criticised earlier in the month for deciding to bring back her chat show during the strikes, with some referring to her as a “scab” – a term used for someone who crosses a picket line.

While her show itself was not covered by the strike, Barrymore’s writers were – and she eventually postponed the show’s return.

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While writers are able to go back to work, Hollywood actors are still on strike against the studios in the AMPTP.

Members of SAG-AFTRA (the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) are fighting for their own deals on issues such as the threat of AI, residuals and health care.

WGA members have been encouraged to join picket lines in solidarity with actors, where stars Richard Gere and Pedro Pascal have been spotted in recent days.

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