September 29, 2023

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Hollywood writers strike, studios back at the bargaining table

Hollywood writers strike, studios back at the bargaining table

Representatives of SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America (WGA) walk in a picket line outside Disney Studios in Burbank, California, US, July 25, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Negotiators for striking Hollywood writers and major studios will return to the negotiating table on Friday, with more than 100 days since the strike, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) said.

The Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance, the group representing Walt Disney (DIS.N), Netflix (NFLX.O), Warner Bros Discovery (WBD.O) and other studios, is expected to provide responses to the WGA’s proposals, the union said in a statement Thursday. .

The strike began on May 2 after talks between the WGA and the major studios deadlocked over compensation, minimum staffing in writers’ rooms and payments remaining in the broadcast era, among other things.

The writers also sought to regulate the use of artificial intelligence, which they fear could replace their creative input.

Studio executives indicated their desire for a timely resolution to labor unrest during recent earnings calls.

The two sides met on August 4 to discuss the resumption of talks and the issues each of them intends to bring to the negotiating table. But the WGA issued a statement afterward criticizing the studios, alluding to the souring of the talks.

Disney CEO Bob Iger on Wednesday extended an olive branch to Hollywood writers and actors, indicating his “deep respect” for creative professionals.

“Nothing is more important to this company than its relationships with creators,” Egger said. “I have deep respect and appreciation for all those who play a vital role in the extraordinary creative engine that drives this company and our industry.”

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Iger, who has a reputation as a friend of talent, angered the striking Hollywood workers last month when he said their demands were “unrealistic.”

The strike by about 11,500 writers canceled nightly showings of new episodes, disrupted most production for the fall television season and halted work on big-budget films.

The 160,000-member Screen Actors Guild (SAG) went on strike on July 14 over pay and AI, in the first double strike since 1960.

(Reporting by Don Chmielewski) from Los Angeles; Editing by Mary Milliken and Cynthia Osterman

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