The Hollywood writers strike is set to end on Wednesday after nearly 150 days

Writers on strike march with signs on the picket line on day four of the strike by the Writers Guild of America in front of Netflix in Hollywood, California on May 5, 2023.
Hollywood writers hit the picket lines in May. Their guild on Sunday reached a tentative agreement with the group representing the streamers and studios.FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
  • The Writers Guild of America said it will end its strike on Wednesday.

  • WGA leadership voted to end the strike on Tuesday after it reached a tentative agreement with Hollywood studios.

  • The truce came nearly five months after over 10,000 WGA members went on strike on May 2.

The Writers Guild of America, or WGA, said on Tuesday that it will end its strike on Wednesday.

On Sunday, the WGA announced it had reached a tentative deal with Hollywood studios to end a strike of nearly five months.

WGA leadership "voted to lift the restraining order and end the strike as of 12:01 am PT/3:01 am ET on Wednesday, September 27th," it said in a Tuesday statement.

The tentative agreement on Sunday came after the guild and the AMPTP — which represents major studios and streaming services, including Warner Bros. Discovery, Disney, and Netflix — met for five consecutive days, starting Wednesday, for bargaining.

Industry sources told Variety on Sunday that AMPTP representatives sent their "best and final" offer on Saturday to the writers.

The WGA's Sunday email to members called the deal "exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership."

The writers got key wins related to artificial intelligence, data transparency, residuals, and minimum staffing, according to a summary of the deal terms provided by the WGA.

The agreement says the AMPTP members can use AI-generated material, but that they can't write or rewrite literary material, AI-generated material won't be considered source material, which is meant to protect writers from having their credit be undermined by AI. Writers also can't be required to use AI software.

The companies also agreed to pay increased residuals, based on confidential data they will provide on the number of hours streamed. The writers also won requirements for the minimum number of writers on shows who must be hired for TV shows and the duration of their employment.

Bloomberg reported some broad strokes of the deal on Sunday, including that "writers convinced the studios to increase their salaries, share more viewership data, pay them bonuses for high-performing shows and guarantee a minimum number of staffers on shows."

Over 10,000 WGA members started their strike on May 2. They were joined on the picket lines by over 160,000 union members of SAG-AFTRA, the actors' union, on July 14. The actors remain on strike, and film and TV production won't fully restart until their union reaches its own deal with the AMPTP.

SAG-AFTRA in a statement Sunday congratulated the WGA on its tentative deal "after 146 days of incredible strength, resiliency, and solidarity on the picket lines." But the actors' union statement also alluded to its members' unique concerns. "While we look forward to reviewing the WGA and AMPTP's tentative agreement," it said, "we remain committed to achieving the necessary terms for our members."

Writers won't return to work right away, as the precise language of the agreement needs to be finalized and authorized by WGA leadership. "To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild," the WGA email to union members said, emphasis theirs. "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.

The joint walkout marked the first time in more than 60 years that both guilds have organized a labor action against the studios, which hit the entertainment industry hard.

The last time writers and actors went on a joint work stoppage, the strike lasted 148 days. In 1988, the writers went on strike again for 154 days.

Late-night television shows have gone dark since May, while production has been halted for almost all films and TV series, including high-profile shows like the fifth and final season of Netflix's "Stranger Things" and Marvel's "Blade."

Broadcast networks' fall TV schedules were loaded with reality series, whose writers aren't subject to the WGA agreement.

The strike at times exposed bitter rifts between studio higher-ups and writers.

In July, Deadline reported that an anonymous studio executive said the game plan was to let the strike drag on for months "until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses."

"In the worst possible PR move they could've done ... they've decided to go nuclear," Alex O'Keefe, a writer on the first season of FX's "The Bear," told Insider at the time.

On Sunday, O'Keefe was celebrating the WGA deal and his union's solidarity. "The 1% picked a fight with the wrong workers. Thank god for democratic unions willing to fight and strike to save American industries from extinction," O' Keefe told Insider in a text.

Earlier this month, actor-turned-TV host Drew Barrymore was criticized when she defended her decision to resume the fourth season of "The Drew Barrymore Show" without her three unionized writers. Barrymore soon reversed her decision after the backlash.

Both writers and actors were striking over various issues, including better compensation and protection against artificial intelligence.

Demands from the two unions stemmed from issues brought about by the rise of streaming, including shorter TV seasons, as well as fewer and lower residual payments, Insider's Reed Alexander and Alison Brower reported in July.

The Union Solidarity Coalition (TUSC), an organization that was created at the beginning of the writers' strike in May to support industry employees, also celebrated the news of the agreement.

"The sense of community we all found in this dark period has been inspiring and TUSC is fully committed to continuing our activism and fundraising in perpetuity. We look forward to supporting IATSE in their upcoming negotiations," TUSC said in a statement to Insider.

The Directors Guild of America, or DGA, applauded the tentative agreement between the WGA and the AMPTP. It is now urging the Hollywood companies to resume bargaining with striking actors.

"Now it's time for the AMPTP to get back to the table with SAG-AFTRA and address the needs of performers," the DGA said in a Sunday statement.

September 26, 9.12 p.m.: The story has been updated with the latest details on the strikes.

Read the original article on Business Insider