Hollywood Writers Overwhelmingly Back New Contract

'Together we were able to accomplish what many said was impossible only 6 months ago '
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 26, 2023 8:13 PM CDT
Updated Oct 9, 2023 6:40 PM CDT
Union Says Hollywood Writers Strike Is Over
Picketers participate in a "Star Wars" themed picket line outside Fox studios on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Rick Taber)
UPDATE Oct 9, 2023 6:40 PM CDT

Hollywood writers have voted almost unanimously to approve the contract agreement reached by their union leaders that ended a strike after nearly five months, while actors remain in negotiation to find a way out of their own strike. The Writers Guild of America announced Monday that 99% of the 8,525 members who cast ballots voted to ratify the deal, the AP reports. The agreement was widely touted as a win by leaders, and widely praised by members, with major gains in payment, size of show staffs, and control of artificial intelligence in scripts. The result of the vote taken over the past week was never really in doubt. "Together we were able to accomplish what many said was impossible only six months ago," Meredith Stiehm, president of the WGA-East, said in a statement.

Sep 26, 2023 8:13 PM CDT

Leaders of the screenwriters union declared their nearly five-month-old strike over Tuesday after board members approved a contract agreement with studios, bringing Hollywood at least partly back from a historic halt in production. The governing boards of the eastern and western branches of the Writers Guild of America and their joint negotiating committee all voted to accept the deal, and afterward declared that the strike would be over and writers would be free to work starting at 12:01am Wednesday, the AP reports. Late-night talk shows—the first to go dark when writers walked out on May 2—are likely the first shows that will resume.

The writers still have to vote to ratify the contract themselves, but lifting the strike will allow them to work during that process, the Writers Guild told members in an email. After Tuesday's board votes, the contracts were released to the writers, who had not yet been given any details on the deal, which their leaders called "exceptional." The members will vote between Oct. 2 and 9. Hollywood actors remain on strike with no talks yet on the horizon, but a new spirit of optimism animated those who were picketing Tuesday for the first time since writers reached their tentative deal Sunday night.

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Writers' picket lines had been suspended, but they were encouraged to walk in solidarity with actors, and many were on the lines Tuesday, including Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, who picketed alongside friend and ER actor Noah Wyle as he has throughout the strikes. "We would never have had the leverage we had if SAG had not gone out," Weiner said. "They were very brave to do it." Striking actors also voted to authorize their leadership to potentially expand their walkout to include the lucrative video game market, a step that could put new pressure on Hollywood studios to make a deal with the performers who provide voices and stunts for games.

(More Hollywood writers' strike stories.)

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