UPDATED, 9:13 p.m.: SAG-AFTRA and the studios plan to talk more, but there will be no agreement tonight.
After a long day of negotiations on Tuesday, the parties are still grappling with several difficult issues, including AI protections, we hear. After going over the issue repeatedly and consulting with attorneys and others throughout the night, the union’s negotiating committee and AMPTP have scheduled another session for Wednesday, we’re told.
Led by SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and AMPTP president Carol Lombardini, the sides spent hours talking on and off today, both about the ins and outs of a deal and the process for hammering out the fundamentals of a deal. tentative on paper. The studio CEOs did not reach out as they did on previous occasions.
(Update 22:58: “After a meeting Monday night with the AMPTP, the Television and Theater Negotiating Committee spent 10 hours deliberating today,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement sent to its members Tuesday night. “We will continue on Wednesday. We appreciate your patience and support as we finish our work.” )
The lack of a tentative deal tonight means the soon-to-be 118-day strike won’t end before Warner Bros. Discovery and Disney release their quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, an event horizon that many incorrectly assumed the job action would fall short of. . cross.
That’s why we heard from sources on both sides of the negotiating table: blame AI.
Faced with a technology that is clearly evolving in leaps and bounds, the guild wants to see “sturdy guardrails,” as one SAG-AFTRA source called them, that protect its 160,000 members both in terms of compensation and image rights. While the gap between what AMPTP is now offering and what the union is seeking has narrowed significantly in the past 36 hours, they are “close, but not there yet,” according to the SAG-AFTRA source.
Deadline heard from multiple sources that guild president Fran Drescher was contacted by A-list stars asking if a deal was close. We’re told guild leaders were also hopeful that Tuesday would be about Lombardini and Crabtree-Ireland working out the details and fine print.
“A lot of bureaucracy,” one studio expert summarized the deal the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee and union and studio attorneys were reaching. Another creative close to the conversations summarizes: “today there are many secondary channels.” Studio sources trumpet the “mostly historic” agreement before the actors, while exclaiming that many actors in the ranks are upset with the ongoing strike, in addition to many communities below. On the other hand, as well-attended pickets on both coasts today attest, union unity remains strong.
For some, sources said tonight, this may be a matter of the right personalities.
Given Lombardini’s tough demeanor in the talks, some questioned whether she was the right person to close the deal with former prosecutor Crabtree-Ireland. On Tuesday, the argument was being made in some studio and trade circles that smooth operator Bob Iger should come in to close the deal. However, another source said: “No, she is the one.”
While the city waits for Lombardini and Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA has pickets scheduled in Los Angeles and New York on Wednesday. The City of Angels has a post-apocalyptic-themed reunion outside of Netflix and a Fightin’ Irish picket in front of Warner Bros.
PREVIOUSLY, 1:17 PM: Chief negotiators from SAG-AFTRA and the studios will meet later today in what could be the final phase of sealing a new deal and an end to the 117-day actors’ guild strike.
With AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA making a breakthrough last night on the contentious topic of AI, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and AMPTP President Carol Lombardini are scheduled to speak this afternoon. “We are very close,” a union source told Deadline. “It’s not done yet, but it’s very close, with strong protection language,” the source added of the AI protection barriers the guild had long sought, even before they went on strike in mid-2019. July.
One studio source called today’s deal “hopeful,” while another giddy insider smiled: “It’s going to happen.”
After SAG-AFTRA delivered its response on Nov. 6 to AMPTP’s so-called “last, best and final offer” late last week, the parties met yesterday for a Zoom meeting. Well into the night, that meeting once again featured Disney’s Bob Iger’s Gang of Four CEO, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, and NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley. Unlike previous meetings, studio bosses were finally willing to modify their latest AI proposal to provide more project-specific protections and compensation to artists, we hear.
The meeting between Crabtree-Ireland and Lombardini will likely decide today whether that change is enough to end the bitter and costly six months of strikes that have shut down Hollywood, cost the California economy $67.5 billion and seen 45,000 jobs disappear in the entertainment sector. .
“It’s all down to Duncan and Carol and toning down the AI language,” a source said. An agreement on minimum rates is also on the table. SAG-AFTRA had wanted an 11% increase, but the studios ultimately offered 7%, which is better than what the WGA got in its end-strike agreement in September. The guild has since moved its demand to around 9% and the two sides are said to be settling around 8%, we hear.
Described by study sources as “historic,” for what it’s worth, AMPTP’s Nov. 3 offer also includes, among others, a multi-decade salary increase and a 100% increase in performance compensation bonuses. for big budgets. streaming series and movies that meet certain thresholds. The guild is said to have “problems” with those benchmarks, considering them too high to be meaningful for many of its members.
Neither AMPTP nor SAG-AFTRA responded to Deadline’s request for comment today. If they do, we will update it. It’s worth noting that both WBD and Disney will release fourth-quarter earnings results later this week and the end of the strike wouldn’t be unwelcome on Wall Street, if you know what we mean.
While the industry waits with bated breath, Hollywood is set to resume production of films and television series around the world, to get the 2024 feature film slate and television programming back on track.
While there were complaints from studio executives last night after the guild’s response to the studio’s “last, best and final offer,” it turns out the two sides were closer than anticipated as they discussed contract terms late into the night. . One executive was up in arms over the guild’s request to have actors’ approval for their digital selves, and union approval for any use of AI other than a digital artist. “Not how movies are made!” However, we’ll see how both sides come to an agreement when the dust finally settles on AI rights and residual streaming revenue.
Still, pickets were raised and members of SAG-AFTRA and their allies took to the streets of New York and Los Angeles today.