The screenwriters’ union and negotiators representing Hollywood studios and streaming services have reached a tentative agreement to end one of the longest strikes in Hollywood’s history. The labor dispute, which has dragged on for nearly 150 days, slowed down the production of new TV shows and movies to a trickle, threw the industry into crisis and threatened to deprive viewers of some of their favorite on-screen content.
The Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers announced the tentative step in a joint statement late Sunday, following five days of intense negotiations, which were attended at times by the chief executives of major studios and streamers.
Though the deal is not yet finalized, the news sparked sighs of relief across Hollywood. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass (D) said she was “grateful” that the WGA and the AMPTP had “reached a fair agreement,” and expressed hope “that the same can happen soon” with the union representing film and TV actors, which has been engaged in a separate but parallel strike since July.
“This historic strike impacted so many across Los Angeles and across the nation. Now, we must focus on getting the entertainment industry, and all the small businesses that depend on it, back on their feet and stronger than ever before,” Bass said.
President Biden congratulated the writers and producers on their deal Monday morning, calling the agreement “a testament to the power of collective bargaining.”
The deal comes as a number of labor unions have been on strike, including United Auto Workers, whose members walked out of warehouses and distributions across 20 states this month. Biden is expected to visit the UAW workers in Michigan on Tuesday. He encouraged other employers to remember that all employees, including writers and automakers, “deserve a fair share of the value their labor helped create.”
Here’s what happens next.
Is the writers strike over?
The WGA said in an emailed statement that the strike is not over and warned screenwriters not to return to work until a final contract is signed. Any final contract must be approved by union members and leadership in a multistep process.
Sharp. Witty. Thoughtful. Sign up for the Style Memo newsletter.
In a nod to the latest progress, however, the guild said in its statement that it was suspending picketing — though it encouraged its members to support the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the union representing actors, on their own picket lines throughout the week.
What is in the tentative agreement?
The WGA said it could not reveal details until a contract was drawn up for ratification by guild members. However, longtime WGA members anticipate it will include protective language around the use of AI, including provisions ensuring at least some level of residual payments for streaming shows, language providing for minimum staffing requirements on shows, as well as wage increases.
— Adam Conover (@adamconover) September 25, 2023
We did it. We have a tentative deal.
Over the coming days, we'll discuss and vote on it, together, as a democratic union. But today, I want to thank every single WGA member, and every fellow worker who stood with us in solidarity. You made this possible. Thank you. #WGAStrong pic.twitter.com/KfzVKoPMPz
“Though we are eager to share the details of what has been achieved with you, we cannot do that until the last “i” is dotted,” the WGA’s negotiating committee said in its email. “To do so would complicate our ability to finish the job.”
However, the committee called the agreement “exceptional” and said it included “meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.”
What does this mean for TV shows that were affected by the strike?
Settling the WGA strike means the writers can resume writing scripts, which should help ease the growing backlog of delayed TV and film projects that have piled up since WGA members voted to strike in May. Many reality shows and other projects that don’t rely on striking actors may be able to resume production immediately.
Popular television shows that have been on strike, like “Family Guy,” “Cobra Kai” and “Euphoria,” may kick up production again soon after the deal is signed.
Why over 11,000 TV and movie writers are striking and the shows affected
Variety reported that Hollywood studios began planning this week for a return to production in anticipation of an agreement being reached with the WGA. But it may take a while for some of your favorite TV shows and movies to resume filming — particularly if the actors strike is not resolved.
What does a tentative agreement mean for writers and studios?
Hollywood studios and streamers won’t be able to film the bulk of their scripted projects, including franchise movies and sitcoms, until they settle their dispute with SAG-AFTRA. While there is overlap in the demands of TV and film actors and screenwriters, SAG-AFTRA also has its own specific demands, as well as different leaders and negotiators.
This means the crisis in Hollywood could linger for weeks, if not months. It took the studios nearly two months to reach a tentative deal with the WGA after the two sides resumed negotiations in early August. The renewed talks began haltingly, with little progress and mutual finger-pointing, before concluding in an extended stretch of closed-door meetings this past week that included chief executives from Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBCUniversal and Netflix — a sign of how badly the studios want the writers back on the job.
What were the striking writers’ demands?
As The Washington Post has reported, screenwriters demanded better pay and benefits, higher residual payments and transparency from streaming projects and protections against being replaced by artificial intelligence.
Most of the WGA’s more than 11,000 members approved a list that included demands to:
- “Increase minimum compensation significantly to address the devaluation of writing in all areas of television, new media and features.”
- “Ensure appropriate television series writing compensation throughout entire process of preproduction, production and postproduction.”
- “Increase contributions to Pension Plan and Health Fund.”
- “Regulate use of material produced using artificial intelligence or similar technologies.”
- “Enact measures to combat discrimination and harassment and to promote pay equity.”
Why are Hollywood actors and writers on strike? Here are the issues.
What can we expect to happen next?
Once the WGA and the AMPTP formalize their agreement into a contract, the WGA’s negotiating committee will need to approve it, followed by the board of directors for the union’s eastern and western branches — votes are tentatively scheduled to take place by Tuesday.
If the contract is approved by leadership, the WGA would make the contract language public and hold meetings about it for the union’s approximately 11,500 members. Those members would then hold a ratification vote. If a majority approve it, the strikers could presumably then return to work.
WGA members have overwhelmingly voted in favor of new contracts in recent negotiating cycles, which take place every three years. More than 97 percent of WGA voters ratified the 2020 contract, which expired in May and precipitated the current strike, and the 2017 contract before it.
The strike could technically end before ratification of the contract if WGA leaders vote to allow members to return to work. In its email Sunday, the WGA said that if the board of the WGA West and council of WGA East allow a ratification vote to move forward, they could “also vote on whether to lift the restraining order and end the strike at a certain date and time (to be determined) pending ratification.” While writers could once again pick up their scripts, this “would not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval,” the WGA said.
How have writers reacted to the tentative agreement?
Screenwriters who are part of the WGA celebrated the news of the tentative agreement as a hopeful sign that they could soon return to work.
“I am so proud of the hard work and dedication, not only at the negotiating committee, but of all of the members of the WGA who showed incredible unity in fighting for a fair deal,” said WGA member Gloria Calderón Kellett, co-creator of “One Day at a Time.”
“Hopefully, a precedent has been established, the actors can get a fair deal, as well, and we can all get back to work very soon,” said WGA member Michael Jamin (“King of the Hill,” “Just Shoot Me”), whose strike-commentary updates have 160,000 followers on Instagram.
The Los Angeles Times posted videos on social media showing WGA members cheering at a bar in North Hollywood.
Unions representing other professions in Hollywood also welcomed news of progress in the negotiations. The union of TV and film actors congratulated the WGA and said it looked forward to reviewing the terms of the tentative agreement but remained “committed to achieving the necessary terms for our members.” The Directors Guild of America, which represents film and TV directors and reached its own agreement with the AMPTP in June, said: “Congratulations to the WGA on reaching a tentative agreement tonight on behalf of their members.”
Unions overseas also marked the moment. Lisa Holdsworth, chair of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, said in a statement that the WGGB’s members had supported the WGA strike in various ways and added that the strike had an “acute impact” on the British creative industries.
Skip to end of carousel
The Style section
Style is where The Washington Post covers happenings on the front lines of culture and what it all means, including the arts, media, social trends, politics and yes, fashion, all told with personality and deep reporting. For more Style stories, click here.
End of carousel
“We look forward to a speedy resolution to both this strike and that of SAG-AFTRA, to whom we continue to send our solidarity,” Holdsworth said.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who in July offered to help broker an agreement between the studios and the WGA amid growing concerns over the strike’s negative impact on the state’s economy, issued a statement expressing his gratitude.
“For over 100 days, 11,000 writers went on strike over existential threats to their careers and livelihoods — expressing real concerns over the stress and anxiety workers are feeling,” Newsom said. “I am grateful that the two sides have come together to reach an agreement that benefits all parties involved, and can put a major piece of California’s economy back to work.”
Is the actors strike over?
Not yet, and it’s unclear when it’ll end. SAG-AFTRA said in a statement Sunday night that it is still committed to agreeing on terms for its own deal and will remain on strike until an agreement is made.
The guild urged “the studio and streamer CEOs and the AMPTP to return to the table and make the fair deal that our members deserve and demand.”
When will late night and daytime talk shows come back?
It’s unclear when late-night and daytime shows will return, but late-night shows are already prepping their comeback routines.
“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” which were among the first to shutdown amid the strike, are expected to return in early October, according to Variety. These talk shows fall under the SAG-AFTRA’s network code deal, which means the hosts aren’t on that guild’s strike and could return to work as soon as the new WGA deal is inked.
Production will need to contact crew members and writing teams to resume, which might take some time if people have moved away from their filming locations, Variety reported. The shows will also need time to kick-start marketing campaigns so that audiences know the shows are live again.
A number of daytime television shows, like “The Drew Barrymore Show” and “The Talk,” might return soon, too, as they already attempted an early return amid the strike in mid-September. (They quickly changed their tune as backlash erupted from irate writers about restarting production amid the strike.)
When will TV shows and movies start production again?
Production on major motion pictures and popular television shows will likely start up again soon, but there’s no clear start date yet. There are a number of projects still in limbo — from forthcoming Marvel flicks to “Beetlejuice 2” and “Abbott Elementary.” Any renewed production schedule would only go so far, though, as it would not involve actors.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see some announcements of forthcoming projects that have been held off amid the strike, though. In fact, Puck News reported Monday that a reboot of “The Office” from the show’s original creator Greg Daniels is on the way — an official announcement hasn’t yet been made.
Erica Werner contributed reporting.
- The radical earnestness of Tony PSeptember 19, 2023The radical earnestness of Tony PSeptember 19, 2023
- New Yorkers know Bernie Wagenblast’s voice. Now that voice has changed.September 25, 2023New Yorkers know Bernie Wagenblast’s voice. Now that voice has changed.September 25, 2023
- Katie Porter and the politics of real lifeSeptember 20, 2023Katie Porter and the politics of real lifeSeptember 20, 2023
Writers and the major studios reached a tentative deal after nearly five months of striking. In the coming days, members of the
Hollywood actors to resume negotiations with studios next week as writers strike ends. SAG-AFTRA member John Schmitt, second from right, and others carry signs on the picket line outside Netflix on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Los Angeles.What's happening with the writers strike? ›
Writers strike officially over, ending second-longest walkout in WGA history. After 148 days of tense negotiations, long picket lines and stalled production, the leadership for the Writers Guild of America on Tuesday voted to officially end the Hollywood writers strike on Wednesday at 12:01am PT.What are the writers strike demands for 2023? ›
Writers began the strike on May 2, demanding higher royalties, mandatory staffing of TV writing rooms and safeguards to their jobs from the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Another demand was for residual payments when a show becomes a hit.Will the writers strike end? ›
Writers strike will end on Wednesday The 148-day Hollywood writers strike will end just after 12:01 a.m. PT on Wednesday, thanks to a new three-year deal the Writers Guild of America made with major Hollywood studios.What are the trends in writing 2023? ›
Non-fiction books are becoming popular, especially inspirational and educational ones. Romance, crime, and mystery are the most profitable fiction genres. You should develop your personal author's brand in 2023. TikTok is an excellent platform for selling more books.What strikes are happening 2023? ›
- 2022-2023 Medevial Times, California strike;
- 2022–2023 HarperCollins strike;
- 2022–2023 National Health Service strikes;
- 2021–2023 Stagecoach strikes;
- 2018–2023 UK higher education strikes;
- 2022–2023 United Kingdom postal workers strikes;
- 2022–2023 United Kingdom railway strikes;
The strike, which ran from March 7 to August 7, 1988, affected production on movies and TV shows. At 153 days, it remains the longest strike in the history of the WGA, surpassing the 1960 strike and the 2023 strike by 5 days.How long is the writers strike 2023? ›
A Happy Ending?: After 148 days on strike, writers of movies and television are returning to work with an agreement in hand. Here's what the deal means for the future of American entertainment. Back on the Air: Late-night shows were the first casualty of the writers' strike, and they have been dark since early May.When was the last writers strike in Hollywood? ›
The deal to end the last writers strike, in 2008, was approved by more than 90% of union members. Media and entertainment companies got a small boost from the news. Shares in Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount, Disney and Netflix all rose about 2% or less on Monday.
Ultimately, the future of writers will depend on how they adapt to new technologies and the ways in which they are able to use them to their advantage. While it is possible that chatbots and language models may change the way that writing is done, they are unlikely to fully replace the need for human writers.Are the writers back to work? ›
TV and Movie Writers to Begin Returning to Work on Wednesday. The leadership of the Writers Guild of America voted to end a 148-day strike.Is the SAG strike over? ›
The development comes a day after leaders of the Writers Guild of America voted to authorize its members to return to work following the tentative agreement reached Sunday between union negotiators and Hollywood's studios and streaming services, effectively ending the months-long strike that has paralyzed the industry.Will there be strikes in February 2023? ›
When are the rail and train strikes in February 2023? National rail have confirmed strikes for Wednesday 1st February and Friday 3rd which will most likely cause disruption for three to four days.Is the Hollywood strike over? ›
The Hollywood writers strike is over after guild leaders approve contract with studios.When did writers strike end? ›
After several attempts at negotiation between writers and studios, the two parties finally reached a tentative agreement for a new contract on September 24, with the union ordering the strike to end on September 27.Are there any strikes in April 2023? ›
Tuesday 11 April
Junior doctors in England belonging to the British Medical Association (BMA) go on strike. Passport Office strike by PCS members continues. British Museum workers' strike continues.