A tentative deal was reached between screenwriters and producers Tuesday, averting a strike that could have crippled TV and film production and inflicted harm on the wider California economy. The three-year agreement, which requires ratification by members of the Writers Guild of America, was confirmed by the guild and producers' spokesman, Jarryd Gonzales, shortly after the current contract expired early Tuesday, the AP reports. Further details weren't immediately available. The two sides held to a media blackout during negotiations that began March 13 and centered on compensation and health care.
The agreement spares the late-night shows that would immediately have gone dark without writers, and allows the networks to pursue their schedules for the upcoming TV season without interruption. Movie production would have felt a strike's sting more gradually. After the 2007-08 strike, the two sides reached agreements in 2010 and 2013, but TV writers in particular have seen their earnings slide since then and want to claw back some of those losses. Before Tuesday's deal was announced, writer-actress Lena Dunham said she would back a strike this time. "I would never have had the health coverage I had without the union, and that's one of the main points in this," Dunham said at the Met Gala on Monday night. (Read more Writers Guild of America stories.)