SAG-AFTRA, Studios to Resume Talks on Friday
➕ Writers share their thoughts on the WGA deal. A 'pyrrhic victory,' says one
By the end of Friday, the actors guild and the major Hollywood studios will have met thrice since the start of the revived negotiations, with plans for both sides to meet again first thing next week.
“SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP met for a full day bargaining session and have concluded,” reads a joint statement that just came in this evening. “Negotiations will continue Friday, October 6, with the parties working internally over the weekend, resuming Monday, October 9.”
According to a source familiar with the talks, Monday’s meeting was largely a review of the issues on the table — which include A.I. and revenue sharing, among other concerns — though the second day of renewed talks was slightly more productive. SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland also reportedly appeared before the Federal Trade Commission today to warn of the dangers of A.I. to the industry.
Though many across town are eager for the industry’s series of work stoppages to end, it’s important to remember that the 160,000-strong membership of SAG-AFTRA has a varied constituency that includes not just actors, but dancers, singers and other performers, and their contractual demands will take time to parse.
Meanwhile, Hollywood’s writers are quickly getting back to work: Late night is back. The Dick Wolf television universe is whirring back into gear, with the Law & Order, FBI and Chicago franchises reportedly reopening their eight writers rooms. And that follows the dusting off of writers rooms for Grey’s Anatomy, 9-1-1 and Abbott Elementary.
As the Writers Guild of America’s strike closes out, the mood is still chipper. “I would have struck for 144 days to get half of what we got in this deal,” one writer told me last week. “We won.”
But that battle does not come without scars. As one upper-level writer wrote in to say, the achievement of the deal felt like something of a “pyrrhic victory”:
Hope you’re doing well. I just wanted to update you on the emotional rollercoaster that is being a TV writer in LA. As I read more about the deal, I think it’s pretty darn good. My first reaction I think was one of a soldier after a war… I’m sure some throw their helmets in the air with glee, while others sit in a corner and weep. I think I fell in the latter category… I just feel so bad for everyone who suffered and continues to suffer because of the studios’ intransigence and apathy towards the people— the community— of this industry. It just didn’t feel like a celebratory moment for me, it felt like a pyrrhic victory. Some context: I spent 12 years as a crew member before I was lucky enough to transition into writing, and I feel deeply for those who can only make a living if something is actually being shot on a stage. In 2007, I was $300 short of my healthcare when the strike began, it was devastating. So congrats to the WGA for getting a deal that made a new technology something that will be regulated, and securing good terms for writers. (I think the staff minimums are kind of a joke in practice, but maybe it allows something to build on in the future). But I do think it’s also a time to mourn, and to figure out a way to make sure this wasn’t a World War that merely sets the stage for another in 2026.
Lastly, I wanted to share this very kind note from a Strikegeist reader that I received last week. I’ve heard from quite a few folks since the WGA deal was announced, and have so appreciated all the writers and actors and crew and studio staffers who have trusted me with their candid thoughts and experiences over the past five months.
I know it's not all said and done yet but after last night's huge news, I just wanted to write and say thank you. The coverage from you and your team at The Ankler has been the most reliable and calm and steady and so many of us have depended on it for many months now. You've never let us down and we won't forget it.
Thank you thank you thank you / let's hope for more good news soon.
ICYMI in Strike News
Drew Barrymore’s talk show is returning (again, after initially trying to rev back up during the WGA strike), but its three writers have declined to return. All three were extended offers, I’m told; the show is now interviewing replacement writers and will do so in compliance with the guild. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.
VFX workers at Walt Disney Pictures voted unanimously to unionize with IATSE in the hopes of receiving improved compensation, sufficient health care and retirement benefits. “For so long we’ve wanted the same protections as everyone else, but there was no hope in sight,” says VFX senior coordinator Mack Robinson. “Winning this election was a long fight, but I’m proud to say it’s been won by each and every VFX worker wanting a brighter, sustainable future.” (Variety)
After five months on the sidelines, all the broadcast network late-night shows returned to TV screens on Monday night. “We’ve been gone so long, The Bachelor is now a grandfather,” Jimmy Kimmel joked. (New York Times)
Once the actors strike comes to a close, Netflix plans to mark the occasion — much to the annoyance of subscribers — with a price hike on its ad-free service. (Wall Street Journal)
Actors can submit their work for consideration in this year’s SAG Awards, but they will be unable to campaign for their projects until the strike ends, announced the SAG Awards team on Tuesday. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Additional reporting for ICYMI in Strike News by Matthew Frank.
Disclosure: Elaine Low is an inactive member of SAG-AFTRA.