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The Hollywood Writers Strike Is Nearly Over

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 25, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 25, 2023 |


After 146 days, the AMPTP has tentatively agreed to the concessions they should have made with the WGA at least 100 days ago when it became clear the studios would not win. The exact deal is not yet known — and won’t be known in full until probably Tuesday when the WGA negotiating committee will vote on whether to recommend it. Then, it goes out to the writers for ratification. Also on Tuesday, there may be yet another vote to allow the WGA scribes to return to write pending ratification.

In other words, Late Night with Seth Meyers could return as soon as next Monday (or the Monday thereafter). All the late-night talk shows could return (except maybe The Daily Show, which is being hosted by guest actors who may be subject to the SAG-AFTRA strike). It also means that Drew Barrymore, Bill Maher, Jennifer Hudson, and The Talk can return without getting sh*t from social media.

When those talk shows do return, they’re still not going to be able to book any celebrities to talk about their SAG-AFTRA projects; the AMPTP hasn’t even started bargaining with them. Ideally, SAG-AFTRA can work off the WGA deal points and get a deal done relatively soon, or at least soon enough for Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Lily Gladstone to promote Killers of the Flower Moon. Presumably, actors will still be able to promote their non-SAG-AFTRA work, so — for instance — Amy Poehler could return to Late Night with Seth Meyers next week to promote her new scripted podcast.

Hopefully, writers’ rooms will begin operating soon, as well, and while I wouldn’t expect any new episodes of Abbott Elementary or Ghosts in 2023, February 2024 is probably a realistic return date (assuming, again, that SAG-AFTRA resolves their differences with the AMPTP relatively soon).

As for the composition of the deal? The details are unknown, but it’s safe to assume that the WGA got most of what they wanted, per a WGA statement: “We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional - with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.” One would hope that would help pave the way for SAG to likewise receive an “exceptional” deal.

The WGA is still technically on strike pending the Tuesday vote, but picketing is done, except for those WGA writers who picket in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA, which has had the WGA’s back since the beginning.

Here’s the statement the WGA released to its members:

We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language.

What we have won in this contract - most particularly, everything we have gained since May 2nd - is due to the willingness of this membership to exercise its power, to demonstrate its solidarity, to walk side-by-side, to endure the pain and uncertainty of the past 146 days. It is the leverage generated by your strike, in concert with the extraordinary support of our union siblings, that finally brought the companies back to the table to make a deal.

We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional - with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.

What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language. And though we are eager to share the details of what has been achieved with you, we cannot do that until the last “i” is dotted. To do so would complicate our ability to finish the job. So, as you have been patient with us before, we ask you to be patient again - one last time.

Once the Memorandum of Agreement with the AMPTP is complete, the Negotiating Committee will vote on whether to recommend the agreement and send it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval. The Board and Council will then vote on whether to authorize a contract ratification vote by the membership.

If that authorization is approved, the Board and Council would also vote on whether to lift the restraining order and end the strike at a certain date and time (to be determined) pending ratification. This would allow writers to return to work during the ratification vote, but would not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval.

Immediately after those leadership votes, which are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday if the language is settled, we will provide a comprehensive summary of the deal points and the Memorandum of Agreement. We will also convene meetings where members will have the opportunity to learn more about and assess the deal before voting on ratification.

To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild. We are still on strike until then. But we are, as of today, suspending WGA picketing. Instead, if you are able, we encourage you to join the SAG-AFTRA picket lines this week.

Finally, we appreciated your patience as you waited for news from us — and had to fend off rumors — during the last few days of the negotiation. Please wait for further information from the Guild. We will have more to share with you in the coming days, as we finalize the contract language and go through our unions’ processes.

As always, thank you for your support. You will hear from us again very soon.