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Striking screenwriters will resume negotiations with studios on Friday

The Writers Guild of America sent a message to its members Thursday saying they expect the studios will respond to their proposals

A demonstrator holds a poster reading '100 days 0 retreat' as members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) protest in front of the Paramount studios in Los Angeles, California, USA, 09 August 2023.
A demonstrator holds a poster reading '100 days 0 retreat' as members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) protest in front of the Paramount studios in Los Angeles, California, USA, 09 August 2023.ETIENNE LAURENT (EFE)

The guild that represents striking film and television screenwriters says negotiations with major studios and streaming services will resume Friday.

The Writers Guild of America sent a message to its members Thursday saying they expect the studios will respond to their proposals. The two sides met last week to discuss possibly restarting negotiations, but no negotiation dates were immediately set.

“Our committee returns to the bargaining table ready to make a fair deal, knowing the unified WGA membership stands behind us and buoyed by the ongoing support of our union allies,” The Writers Guild told its members.

The screenwriters have now been on strike for 101 days, surpassing a 2007-2008 work stoppage that ground many Hollywood productions to a halt. This time the writers have been joined on picket lines by Hollywood actors, who are also striking to seek better compensation and protections on the use of artificial intelligence in the industry. It is the first time since 1960 that the two unions have been on strike at the same time.

Both guilds are seeking to address issues brought about by the dominance of streaming services, which have changed all aspects of production from how projects are written to when they’re released.

For the writers, the services’ use of small staffs, known as “mini rooms,” for shorter time periods has made a living income hard to achieve, the guild has said. It cites the number of writers working at minimum scale — which has jumped from about a third to about a half in the past decade — as proof.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiates on behalf of the studios and streaming services, has said the writers’ demands would require that they be kept on staff and paid when there is no work for them.

The strike has delayed numerous film and television productions, forced late-night talk shows into reruns and delayed the Emmy Awards, which will now air in January.

There is no indication yet that actors and the studios will return to the negotiating table anytime soon.

Their union, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, said Thursday it was ready to represent reality show performers in response to “Real Housewives of New York” star Bethenny Frankel’s push for performers to receive residuals and have better working conditions on sets.

The union urged reality performers to reach out “so that we may work together toward the protection of the reality performers ending the exploitative practices that have developed in this area and to engage in a new path to Union coverage.”

During the last writers strike, reality television was one way networks filled their schedules.

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