Is the WGA reviewing a deal that studios claim is their “best & final offer”?

The latest negotiations between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) may finally lead to an end to the nearly five-month-long writers’ strike. After a full day of negotiations, the WGA’s lawyers are currently reviewing the studios’ “best and final offer.” More clarity regarding the deal points is expected on Sunday.

During the meeting, which was attended remotely by industry leaders such as Ted Sarandos from Netflix, Donna Langley from Universal, Bob Iger from Disney, and David Zaslav from Warner Bros Discovery, the parties seemed to have resolved their differences over artificial intelligence (AI), writing room staffing levels, and other remaining matters of contention.

In a departure from the past three days, the CEOs of major studios were not physically present at the meeting. Instead, they were contacted by California Governor Gavin Newsom to discuss the progress of the negotiations. The lawyers from both sides are currently working on finalizing the language for a three-year deal.

According to insiders, the intention was always to reach an agreement by the weekend. If the WGA lawyers approve the AMPTP’s final offer, a tentative agreement could be reached by the end of the day, avoiding any further delay due to the Yom Kippur holiday.

Once the WGA deal is finalized and ratified by the members, the next step for the AMPTP will be negotiating with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), which will present its own set of challenges. SAG-AFTRA has been closely following the negotiations between the WGA and the AMPTP.

Despite some gripes about press leaks and last-minute requests by the WGA, sources reveal that the talks have not been contentious and have steadily progressed. The exact terms regarding when writers can resume their work and producers can start sending out scripts to agents are yet to be disclosed. The industry is eager to kickstart the new TV season.

The ongoing strike has had a significant impact on the entertainment industry, as seen from the weekend box office, which hit a new low in 2023 due to actors’ inability to promote their movies. One industry executive has expressed concerns about the upcoming 2024 theatrical release calendar, with possible delays and changes due to post-production and incomplete productions.

This strike is currently the longest in the WGA’s history, lasting 145 days. The previous record was set in 1988 at 154 days. SAG-AFTRA is also on its 72nd day of the strike. Economists estimate that both strikes have resulted in a $5 billion loss for the state of California.