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This is What the WGA Gained

By Kristy Puchko | Trade News | May 2, 2017 |


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Last week we stepped you through what might be expected/endured if the Writers Guild of America did go on strike today. Thankfully, that crisis has been averted as the WGA brokered a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (made of studios, networks, and production companies) at a very dramatic time, minutes after midnight when the old contract expired. Details of the new deal were initially vague, but Variety has got a pretty solid rundown.

Here’s what the WGA gained in their new 3-year contract:

*The minimum of rates has been raised “across the board.”

*Contributions from the AMPTP to the WGA’s healthcare plan have increased. This was a major issue, because lowered salaries from Peak TV meant the guild’s healthcare plan was on the brink of collapse.

*An expansion of “Options and Exclusivity,” which seems to speak to another big issue of the old deal. Essentially, TV writers are often contracted to only write for one show at a time, and with shows having shorter seasons, this meant that they were making less, as they are compensated per episode. But exclusivity clauses meant they were unable to make up the difference by working on other shows.

*The per-episode rate has also been altered. The WGA complaints noted that writers were expected to spend as much as three weeks on an episode, where often the rate anticipated just two weeks of work. But there was no official language on that, just implied tradition. Now the rate is set at one episode equals 2.4 weeks of work. If a writer is needed for longer, they are compensated accordingly.

*The WGA gained 15% increase in Pay TV residuals and nearly $15 million in increases in High-Budget Streaming or Subscription Video on Demand residuals.

*And the official WGA memo to members also notes: “For the first time ever, residuals for comedy-variety writers in Pay TV” has been achieved.

This memo also admits, “Did we get everything we wanted? No. Everything we deserve? Certainly not.” But these are some solid gains, especially in the immediate concerns created by Peak TV. So, this one seems to be a win for the writers, who will now get greater compensation for their work, a win for Hollywood, as no productions will be delayed or killed over a strike, and a loss for President* Donald Trump, who will receive no respite from the well-deserved drubbings of late night talk show hosts and their mocking monologues.

Please enjoy the latest from The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. It’s glorious and positively scathing.


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