- The strike on Hollywood has paralyzed the industry
- Executives have reached a deal with writers
- THESE are the details
Movie and TV fans can breathe easy again, because it looks like the Hollywood writers strike is finally over after 148 days. According to CNN, leaders of the Writers Guild of America have unanimously voted to authorize its members to return to work following the conditional agreement reached Sunday between negotiators and Hollywood’s studios and streaming services, effectively ending the months-long strike that has paralyzed the industry. Here was the official statement from the union:
"The WGAW Board and WGAE Council also voted to lift the restraining order and end the strike as of 12:01 am PT/3:01 am ET on Wednesday, September 27th. This allows writers to return to work during the ratification process, but does not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval," the WGA wrote online.
It's back to work for so many people
It hasn't just been the WGA on strike, but also the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and AFTRA. The Hollywood strikes have been costly, with a nationwide economic impact of more than $5 billion in the United States, according to local economists. The global impact hasn't yet been fully assessed. The pain has been felt by more than just Hollywood insiders; restaurants and businesses that cater to the entertainment industry, like makeup and custodial work, have experienced a downturn, as well. And so, everyone will be happy that Hollywood can get back to work now!
The tentative agreement, reached earlier this week, marks a turning point for Hollywood’s film and TV studios after both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, went on strike this summer to fight for higher pay and protections against artificial intelligence. The contract, which will expire in May 2026, includes pay increases, better benefits, protections against the studios’ use of artificial intelligence, guarantees for streaming compensation, longer-duration employment terms and other perks.
The little guy wins!
Those behind the scenes can expect a much needed pay increase according to the agreement. Most writers’ minimum pay will increase 5% immediately, another 4% in May 2024 and then another 3.5% in May 2025. Healthcare funds will increase by a half percentage point to 12% of companies’ reportable earnings. And writers working on the same script will no longer need to split pension and health contributions, which is massive news for an industry that is dependent on writer collaboration.
One of the main concerns for union members has always been the rise of streaming, because they lose out on residuals that traditional television shows paid when they were re-run. Now it's different! For big streaming projects, namely feature-length productions with a budget of at least $30 million, minimum writer compensation for a story and teleplay will increase 18% to $100,000.
Residual pay minimums for big-budget streaming productions will increase by more than a quarter. And other residuals for video on-demand services will yield a 50% bonus to writers when the shows are watched by a fifth of domestic subscribers in the first three months of a project’s run. That means writers could take home more than $9,000 for a half-hour episode, and more than $16,000 for a one-hour episode for big-budget productions on the top services
Those services, such as Netflix, Disney+ and Max, also pledged to increase transparency about how many hours certain programs were streamed. The agreement also includes protections against the ever-growing threat of artificial intelligence (AI). "AI can’t write or rewrite literary material," the summary said, which also noted a requirement that AI-generated materials must be disclosed to writers.
With the Hollywood writers' strike over, actors will now get a shot at cutting their own deal with studios and streaming services.
The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists announced Wednesday night that strike negotiations with studios would resume Monday. The guild said several studio executives will attend, much as they did during marathon sessions last week that helped bring the nearly five-month writers' strike to an end.
Monday is the same day that network late-night hosts will return to the air. And so, it looks like the Hollywood ecosystem is healing...