The Writers Guild of America met again Friday with executives and negotiators from studios and streamers in a marathon negotiating session that failed to produce a deal, although management insiders claimed progress was being made.
On the third day of union negotiators meeting with a group of top corporate executives, including Disney’s Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav, NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, talks continued late into the night in the offices the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in Sherman Oaks. According to sources, the meeting began at 11 a.m. PT and ended at 8:45 p.m.
The teams have “made a lot of progress and [engaged in] “While I have good faith, they need more time,” said a management source. “Everyone is fully committed, but [it’s] It’s unclear what exact plans there are.”
Possible regulations on the use of AI remained a central topic. “AI remains the most sensitive issue,” said a senior management source. People are “still far apart” on this issue, the person said.
In its own statement to members on Friday evening, the WGA negotiating committee noted that the two parties will meet again on Saturday. “Thank you for your wonderful support on the picket line today! “It means a lot to us as we continue to work toward a deal the authors deserve,” the committee wrote.
Studio sources said negotiators had made progress in previous days of negotiations, but the mood on the management side was soured late Thursday when the union reportedly returned with inquiries about issues the studios believed had already been resolved. “We all got angry,” a studio source said, although on Friday she felt both sides wanted to get a deal done and were putting the hiccups behind them. As negotiations dragged on Friday, CEOs spent a long time waiting in their boardroom, killing time, studio insiders familiar with the proceedings said.
Meanwhile, the mood among writers on the crowded picket lines Friday was one of cautious optimism, as union members anticipated that the end of the historic work stoppage could soon be near. “The fact that they talked to each other for three days is amazing,” said showrunner Marc Guggenheim (Legends of tomorrow) told THR at Disney.
Late Thursday, studio sources claimed that their team had made moves on key WGA issues, including artificial intelligence and residual compensation related to the success of streaming shows. According to these sources, the need for TV staff was also a major topic of discussion at the negotiating table that day, and management compromised there. In a message to members Thursday evening, the WGA bargaining committee said only that “the WGA and the AMPTP met to negotiate today and will meet again tomorrow” and urged members to hit the picket lines in large numbers Friday appear.
The Writers Guild of America’s 144-day strike is just 10 days away from tying the 1988 walkout as the longest strike in the union’s history. In July, several months after the WGA strike began, members of the artists’ union SAG-AFTRA joined their fellow writers on the picket line, which together brought most Hollywood productions to a virtual halt.
Kim Masters contributed reporting.
September 22nd, 9:48 p.m Updated with WGA Negotiating Committee statement.