After a 148 day work stoppage, the Writers Guild of America’s strike has ended upon agreeing to a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Earlier this week, it was announced that they had made a deal and that the strike was to end at 12:01 PT on Wednesday, Sep. 27. Actors represented by the Screen Actors Guild- American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or SAG-AFTRA, who joined the strike in July, remain on strike.
Within the deal, there is a three-year film and TV contract raise. Basic wages are raised 5% the first year, 4% the second year and 3.5% the third year. Originally, writers were losing thousands in income due to the rise of streaming platforms like Disney+ and Max, to name a few. It also establishes a system of providing bonuses to writers based on viewership of their material on streaming services.
This contract also sets minimum staffing requirements for television depending on the length of the series’ season. Series up to six episodes must hire three writers and shows with 13 or more episodes must hire six writers, for example. One of the WGA’s concerns was that in the streaming era, TV seasons have gotten shorter and writers' rooms have shrunk, which has led to fewer opportunities for writers who already have to look for job after job in order to even make a living.
Another subject the deal covered was the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in script writing. The Associated Press states that “AI cannot be a credited writer. AI cannot write or rewrite ‘literary material.’” AI-generated writing cannot be source material.” The deal does state that a writer can use AI if the company consents, but writers cannot be required to use AI. WGA members will also vote on a tentative agreement in the coming weeks, which requires studios and production companies to disclose to writers if any material given to them has partially or fully been written by AI.
If you are a fan of comedy or late-night talk shows, expect to see your favorite hosts back on the air as soon as next week. Other shows may take longer, as the SAG-AFTRA strike continues. Certain paused productions like “Deadpool 3” and the next Quentin Tarantino film will have to wait for actors to reach a deal with studios.