3rd UPDATE, 9:59 PM: In a note to members that just went out, the WGA says it will be meeting Friday with the AMPTP and CEOs from Netflix, Universal, Warner Bros Discovery and Disney for more talks.
2nd UPDATE 8:55 PM: The writers’ strike is not over yet,
More from Deadline
Despite putting in a long second day of direct talks, top CEOs, the AMPTP and the WGA did not close a deal tonight. While sources say both sides are open and willing to gather round the bargaining table, no further talks are officially scheduled.
However, negotiating committees for both the writers and the Carol Lombardini-run AMPTP plus Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Disney’s Bob Iger, Universal’s Donna Langley and Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav have all indicated they will try to convene a meeting tomorrow, we’re told.
As rumors of a deal swirled around town in the last 24 hours and intensified tonight, a number of points remained unresolved going into the 10th hour of talks Thursday. Unresolved issues and few last minute additions to a potential new three-year contract that the exalted dealmakers, their lawyers and the WGA brass simply got stuck on as the evening went on — even as at least one CEO made it very clear they wanted this all wrapped up before the weekend.
No word as of now from either the WGA or AMPTP as to what happened and next steps. Yet, statements may be coming from the parties shortly, insiders say. If and when such statements are released we will update this post.
Day 144 of the WGA strike comes Friday. That just 10 days short of the 1988 scribes’ strike. That Reagan Era labor action remains the longest in the WGA’s history, for now.
1st UPDATE, 6:36 PM: Negotiators for the WGA and the AMPTP plus top studio CEOs are continuing their talks tonight on a deal to end nearly five months of strikes.
Moving into more than eight hours of direct deliberations so far today, the parties — which include Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Universal’s Donna Langley, Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav and Disney’s Bob Iger — took a brief break Thursday before returning to bargaining.
Similar to how events played out in the final hours of the 2017 talks, there’s no indication right now if the two sides are cramming to get a tentative deal done or riding the progress sources say they have made this week. An anticipated 6 p.m. update from the guild and the AMPTP came and went.
PREVIOUSLY, 5:50 PM: A second day of direct negotiations between the Writers Guild and studio CEOs has concluded this evening.
While no deal is at hand at present, the parties have had significant and detailed talks this week, we hear. They are drilling down into the fine print in the hopes of reaching a new three-year contract within hours or days.
However, with the situation fluid and chatter around town of a deal, it is unclear at the moment if the scribes and studios will be meeting again. A new get-together could come tomorrow or on Tuesday, after the Yom Kippur holiday — we will update with more information as we get it. As it stands, a new meeting has not been set as the parties go over details and data coming out of the recent negotiations.
The writers have been on strike for 143 days, so far.
Once again, as Deadline exclusively reported Wednesday, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Disney’s Bob Iger, Universal’s Donna Langley and Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav were in the room with WGA and AMPTP chief Carol Lombardini to try to seal a deal.
Meeting at the AMPTP’s Sherman Oaks offices, the nitty-gritty discussions Thursday centered primarily on the proposals put forth by the studios Wednesday and the guild’s response. With the issue of writer rooms staffing mandates among the sticking points, the CEO Gang of Four sat across the table from the union’s negotiating committee led by Ellen Stutzman, David Goodman and Chris Keyser.
Additionally, to move matters along in what generally were cordial exchanges, there were sidebars between the individual CEOs and WGA brass throughout Thursday, as was the case on September 20.
“These are complex negotiations,” a source close to this latest round of talks said of a potential deal. “You want to move with determination, make sure everything’s buttoned up. That takes time.”
Citing how hard both sides are “working” on breaking the impasse that has gripped Hollywood labor relations since the WGA went out on strike on May 2 and the first round of new talks last month went nowhere, another well-positioned source said that where the players are right now “does sound like progress.”
Today began with some recriminations about a CNBC missive late last night that asserted a deal was coming today or “without deal tomorrow strike likely continues through year end,” as cable host David Faber tweeted. Reminiscent of past sharp salvos against the guild and its members from the C-suites, the blast radius from the report this morning saw Iger being accused of pushing the story – an accusation the Mouse House boss denied.
The principals on both sides also received calls from Gavin Newsom today. Taking no official role in the talks yet, the California governor continued his policy of “checking in,” as an insider termed it.
The WGA had no comment when contacted by Deadline about today’s talks.
Today is the 143rd day of the WGA strike and the 70th day that SAG-AFTRA have been out on the picket lines. If and when the scribes reach a deal with the studios and streamers, the 160,000-strong Fran Drescher-led actors union still would have to reach its own deal before Hollywood throttles up again.
Whenever a deal is reached, writers’ reps are expecting roughly another two weeks before the agreement would be ratified by the guild. As AMPTP then would move to nail down a new contract with SAG-AFTRA thereafter, questions remain on how quickly television writers rooms could return, and how soon producers could submit specs.
Nellie Andreeva contributed to this report.
Best of Deadline