WGA contract talks to resume Wednesday as strike drags on

Los Angeles, California-May 4, 2023-On day three of the Writers Guild of America strike, a large group of WGA members picket in front of Paramount Studio gate in Los Angeles, California on May 4, 2023. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
A large group of WGA members picket in front of the Paramount Studios gate in Los Angeles. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

The Writers Guild of America said it will meet with the alliance representing major studios starting on Wednesday, as the two sides try to negotiate a new agreement that would end the long strike by film and TV writers that has hobbled Hollywood since early May.

"You might not hear from us in the coming days while we are negotiating, but know that our focus is getting a fair deal for writers as soon as possible," the WGA's negotiating committee wrote to members on Monday morning.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents major studios including Warner Bros. Discovery, Netflix and the Walt Disney Co., confirmed the day of the meeting.

"Every member company of the AMPTP is committed and eager to reach a fair deal, and to work together with the WGA to end the strike," the studio group said in a statement last week as it signaled it was working with the guild to return to the negotiating table.

Wednesday’s meeting comes after weeks of little progress in resolving the impasse. The sides last met Aug. 22, when chief executives of multiple studios and AMPTP President Carol Lombardini gathered with WGA negotiators. The meeting went badly.

Read more: Commentary: Drew Barrymore spent years building her brand. Without writers, it unraveled in a week

Writers have been pushing for protections against artificial intelligence, minimum staffing in writers rooms and more transparency on how well programs on streaming services perform so that writers can be financially rewarded when they surge in viewership.

The strike has taken a significant financial toll on studios, pushing back movie releases and causing networks to rely more on unscripted programs. Talk shows hosted by Drew Barrymore and Bill Maher had planned to return but faced severe backlash from WGA members. Both hosts recently reversed their decisions, deciding to delay their returns.

"My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike," Maher wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday. "Now that both sides have agreed to go back to the negotiating table I’m going to delay the return of Real Time, for now, and hope they can finally get this done."

Read more: AMPTP says it will meet with WGA next week after long standstill

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.