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Studios say talks with striking writers could resume next week

Studios say talks with striking writers could resume next week

Contract negotiations between Hollywood studios and striking screenwriters could restart next week, the studios said in a statement Thursday. A return to negotiation (the last talks took place three weeks ago) could be a turning point in the strike, now in its fifth month.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiates on behalf of entertainment companies, and the Writers Guild of America, which represents more than 11,000 film and television writers, have been arguing over the procedure. Last month, the studios improved their offer for a new three-year contract and then, in an unusual move, publicly revealed the details, hoping that guild members would be satisfied and pressure their leaders to reach a deal.

Union leaders, who denounced the disclosure, have since insisted that it is up to the studios to continue improving their offerings. The studios have rejected that demand, claiming they would be negotiating against themselves.

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On Wednesday, the Writers Guild took action, according to the studio alliance’s statement.

“The WGA reached out to the AMPTP and requested a meeting to move negotiations forward,” the alliance said. “We have agreed and are working to schedule a meeting for next week.” The alliance added that it was “eager” to reach an agreement and pledged to “work together with the WGA to end the strike.”

The Writers Guild said in an email to members that it was “in the process of scheduling a time to return to the room,” but declined to comment further.

The union reached out to the studios amid frustration from some of its A-list members, including Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story”), Kenya Barris (“black-ish”), Noah Hawley (“Fargo”) and Dan Fogelman (“This Is Us”). Some have called union leaders to ask specific questions. Why can’t you just walk into a negotiating room with studio representatives and not leave until you reach an agreement? Others have pressed for a meeting to hear their union’s strategy for resolving the strike.

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The financial toll on people in the entertainment industry has become increasingly grim. Showrunners like Murphy employ thousands of crew members on their productions, which puts them in the position of being besieged by people asking when they can return to work and having no answers.

At 136 days, the strike is one of the longest in the Writers Guild’s history. (The longest was 153 days in 1988). The union has called this moment “existential,” arguing that the streaming era has deteriorated working conditions and compensation levels for its members.

The studios have defended their bid to offer the highest pay raise to writers in more than three decades, while also offering protections against artificial intelligence and signaling their willingness to discuss staffing minimums in TV writers’ rooms.



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