Wipe your brow and resume normal televisual viewing, we are saved from the apocalypse just as the doomsday clock reaches midnight. That's "write," the impending writers' strike had been averted — for now.
The Writers Guild of America and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have reached a deal just moments before the entire industry was due to grind to a halt once more. Strike action was expected to start on May 2, but a last-minute deal has saved some of our favorite shows from going into meltdown and a lengthy loss of their writing staff.
The Dead Can Keep On Walking
Fans of AMC's #TheWalkingDead especially will be jumping out of the grave in joy as we can now enjoy the upcoming Season 8 in peace/pieces. The strike would've almost certainly affected the likes of The Walking Dead and other big-name shows. Although #GameofThrones showrunners remained optimistic that the strike wouldn't have affected its shortened final season in 2018, an extended run of action would've almost certainly had an impact.
As for the WGA, the old contracts expired at midnight PT on May 1, but Deadline now reveals that a "tentative" three-year deal has been brokered. The deal still has to go to various WGA boards for approval, and also to the guilds’ members, however, it looks like war has been averted.
The WGA’s chief negotiator, David Young, left extensive talks at 1 a.m. and seemed happy with the progress that has been made:
"It’s the art of the possible. We did the best we could...It’s got some important new things in it, and an important old thing: the health plan has been taken care of.”
Talks were due to be finalized by midnight, but apparently "constructive" negotiations were being made by 12.45 a.m. A source close to the talks said, “It was a hard night, but we knew it would be." The mood in the room was said to be one of relief, and both sides were seen hugging and smiling by the end of the night.
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- Burn In The Seven Hells: Will 'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Be Affected By Writers' Strike?
- Dead And Buried: Is 'The Walking Dead' Season 8 About To Be Delayed Indefinitely?
The Tip Of The Iceberg
The conflict has been ongoing since early March over equal pay for writers, who claim to have seen a slump in their earnings since the last contracts were drawn up. The latest contract will earn guild members “$130 million more over the life of the contract," which is quite the coup for those who script our favorite shows and films. While the majority of the public is in favor of more pay for the writers, this recent run of events has asked the question, "Does the WGA have too much power?"
This is the second time in a decade that the issue has been raised, while the 2007–2008 writers' strike had disastrous effects on Hollywood. Many TV shows like Desperate Housewives went on extended hiatus, Prison Break had a shortened (and maligned) Season 3, and Hollywood blockbusters like Star Trek and X-Men Origins: Wolverine were badly damaged. It was a move that cost the industry some serious dollar signs, so it is no surprise that the AMPTP was keen to nip this in the bud. Talk about a close shave though. Lesson learned, Hollywood, let's not this happen again!
The WGA statement can be read in full below:
May 2, 2017
Your Negotiating Committee is pleased to report that we have reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP that we can recommend for ratification.
In it, we made gains in minimums across the board – as well as contribution increases to our Health Plan that should ensure its solvency for years to come. And we further expanded our protections in Options and Exclusivity.
We also made unprecedented gains on the issue of short seasons in television, winning a definition (which has never before existed in our MBA) of 2.4 weeks of work for each episodic fee. Any work beyond that span will now require additional payment for hundreds of writer-producers.
We won a 15% increase in Pay TV residuals, roughly $15 million in increases in High-Budget SVOD residuals, and, for the first time ever, residuals for comedy-variety writers in Pay TV.
And, also for the first time ever, job protection on Parental Leave.
Did we get everything we wanted? No. Everything we deserve? Certainly not. But because we had the near-unanimous backing of you and your fellow writers, we were able to achieve a deal that will net this Guild’s members $130 million more, over the life of the contract, than the pattern we were expected to accept.
That result, and that resolve, is a testament to you, your courage, and your faith in us as your representatives.
We will, of course, provide more details in the next few days. But until then, we just wanted to thank you – and congratulate you. Your voices were indeed heard.
Your 2017 Negotiating Committee
Chip Johannessen, Co-Chair
Chris Keyser, Co-Chair
Billy Ray, Co-Chair
Alfredo Barrios, Jr.
Howard Michael Gould
Patric M. Verrone
Howard A. Rodman, WGAW President, ex-officio
Michael Winship, WGAE President, ex-officio
David A. Goodman, WGAW Vice President, ex-officio
Jeremy Pikser, WGAE Vice President, ex-officio
Aaron Mendelsohn, WGAW Secretary-Treasurer, ex-officio
Bob Schneider, WGAE Secretary-Treasurer, ex-officio
What do you think about the WGA strike?
[Poll IMage Credit: HBO]