The Writers Guild of America and the major Hollywood studios are closing in on a deal that would end a 145-day strike that has roiled the film and TV business and caused thousands of job losses.
Lawyers for the two sides were hammering out the details of a tentative agreement on Saturday during a meeting that began mid-morning, according to people close to the discussions who were not authorized to comment.
Saturday marked the fourth straight day of talks, which kicked off Wednesday with the heads of four major studios participating directly.
Should the companies reach an agreement this weekend, they won’t immediately restart productions. The entertainment company leaders still must turn their attention to the 160,000-member performers union, SAG-AFTRA, to accelerate those stalled talks in an effort to get the industry back to work.
The thorniest issues in the long-running labor dispute have included language governing the use of artificial intelligence, minimum staffing in writers rooms and the establishment of residuals to reward scribes based on viewership of streaming series.
The work stoppage began in early May and gained momentum as actors led by SAG-AFTRA joined writers on the picket line in mid-July, further shutting down film and scripted television productions and hobbling studios’ ability to promote would-be blockbuster movies.
Any agreement on a new three-year film and TV contract would have to be ratified by a vote of the WGA’s 11,500 members, who have strongly supported the walkout and have enjoyed unusual levels of solidarity from fellow unions amid the nation’s “hot labor summer.”
There has been significant pressure on both sides to reach an agreement in recent weeks. Many Hollywood industry workers have struggled to pay their rent and bills, with some moving out of state to make ends meet. Studios have also felt the financial pain, modifying their film slates and leaning on unscripted television.
WGA negotiators met with studio representatives Wednesday for the first time since a disastrous meeting in late August. This week, top executives joined the proceedings: Walt Disney Co.’s Bob Iger, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav and NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley.
Friday’s marathon session started at 11 a.m. at the headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — which represents the big entertainment companies — in Sherman Oaks. The meeting ended at about 8:30 p.m., amid growing hopes that the sides would be able to reach an accord before the Yom Kippur holiday.