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Hollywood writers ratify new contract with studios

Writers Guild of America East members walk a picket line at the Paramount+ Summit outside the Paramount Building in Times Square in New York City on May 17, 2023
Alexi Rosenfeld | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

The Writers Guild of America has officially ratified its new three-year contract with Hollywood studios.

The guild on Monday announced that 99% of its membership voted to ratify the new deal, with 8,435 votes for “yes” and only 90 for “no.” The terms of the new agreement go from Sept. 25 through May 1, 2026.

“Through solidarity and determination, we have ratified a contract with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of our combined membership,” said Meredith Stiehm, president of Writers Guild of America West.

The WGA secured pay increases in each of the next three years, artificial intelligence restrictions and a new residual system for streaming based on viewership. The guild also negotiated higher contribution rates to health benefits and pensions, as well as a guaranteed number of writers in writers’ rooms for television shows.

The first productions to return after the strike ended were late-night heavyweights Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert, followed by John Oliver, host of “Last Week Tonight.”

Now it’s the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists’ turn. The actors guild began negotiations with the likes of DisneyParamount, NetflixUniversal and Warner Bros. Discovery last week.

“Until the studios make a deal that addresses the needs of performers, WGA members will be on the picket lines, walking side-by-side with SAG-AFTRA in solidarity,” said Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, president of Writers Guild of America East.

SAG-AFTRA is looking to improve wages, working conditions and health and pension benefits, as well as establish guardrails for the use of AI in future television and film productions. Additionally, the union is seeking more transparency from streaming services about viewership so that residual payments can be made equitable to linear TV. The guild is also looking to standardize the self-tape process.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is part of the AMPTP.

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