Your Fall TV and Movie Seasons Are Safe: Hollywood Narrowly Avoids a Writers Strike
Last night, the world watched with bated breath as the future of television and movies—at least for the next few months—hung in the balance. Even in the face of an actual 3.0 earthquake, the negotiations between Writers Guild of America and The Alliance Of Motion Picture And Television Producers went on until the very last second. Thankfully, in typical Hollywood fashion, a midnight deal was reached between the groups and another strike was averted.
Negotiations between the studios and writers started on March 13 and were fraught from the start, with writers demanding some big changes and studios balking. The parties took a break in order for the WGA to consult members on a possible strike and last week, writers voted overwhelmingly in favor of strike authorization, with 96.3% saying yes to authorization. With the threat of a strike looming, the parties returned to the negotiation table with vastly different numbers in mind. But also in everyone’s thoughts was the 2007-8 writers’ strike, which lasted 100 days and cost the economy billions of dollars—and in some ways changed TV forever. It may have been this still fresh memory that kept the parties at the table until the very last minute, when the contract expired at midnight. In the wee hours of the morning, representatives emerged with the good news: a new three-year agreement had been reached.
The rejoicing was felt all over Hollywood, and nowhere more keenly that in the writers’ rooms. The new deal addresses many of the top concerns of the WGA, including options and exclusivity, medical plan contributions, parental leave and fixes for the problem of episodic fees for shorter television seasons. These are big wins for the writers, and avoiding a strike is a victory for Hollywood and audiences, who didn’t want to see the 2017-18 TV season marred by a work stoppage. We may also see a lot of news in coming days on cancellations and possible pickups for on-the-bubble shows, now that we know there will be writers at work to pen them. With the new deal in place and awaiting ratification by Guild membership, it’s time to get back to business.
Jessica Mason is a writer and lawyer living in Portland, Oregon passionate about corgis, fandom, and awesome girls. Follow her on Twitter at @FangirlingJess.
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