'We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional,' the Writers Guild of America wrote in a release.
After five months of striking, Hollywood writers are breathing a sigh of relief. The 2023 Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike has reached a tentative new deal with Hollywood studios to end the writers' strike. "We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language," the guild told its members on Sunday, according to a release sent to PEOPLE. "We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional—with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership," the guild added.
Now, its 11,500 members will vote on whether to approve a three-year deal that offers pay raises and protections around the use of artificial intelligence. The deal was struck with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP)—which represents Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Warner Bros., Discovery, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony. The strike, which first started on May 2, involved entertainment writers working across film, television, news and online media. There is a separate dispute involving actors, who have also been on strike since July. According to BBC, the writers' walkout is the longest strike to affect Hollywood in decades.
Back in August, actor Bryan Cranston delivered a rousing speech at the Rock the City for a Fair Contract SAG-AFTRA rally in Times Square, addressing the concerns over AI, dwindling residuals from streamers and the potential lack of future jobs. The fiery speech also included a message directed at Disney head Bob Iger. "We've got a message for Mr. Iger," the 67-year-old actor said. "I know, sir, that you look [at] things through a different lens. We don't expect you to understand who we are. But we ask you to hear us and beyond that to listen to us when we tell you we will not be having our jobs taken away and given to robots. We will not have you take away our right to work and earn a decent living. And lastly and most importantly, we will not allow you to take away our dignity! We are union through and through, all the way to the end!"
According to Variety, Cranston said that both sides agree that the industry has "changed exponentially" and that "we are not in the same business model we were even 10 years ago," he said. "And yet, even though they admit that is the truth in today's economy, they are fighting us tooth and nail to stick to the same economic system that is outmoded, outdated! They want us to step back in time. We cannot and we will not do that," he added.
Bob Iger has been criticized after his now-infamous July 13 interview with CNBC from the Sun Valley Conference in Idaho after calling the actors' demands "not realistic," according to Variety. Speaking of the Writers Guild of America strike and the decision for SAG-AFTRA to join them, he said, "It's very disturbing to me. We've talked about disruptive forces on this business and all the challenges we're facing, the recovery from COVID, which is ongoing, it's not completely back. This is the worst time in the world to add to that disruption. I understand any labor organization's desire to work on behalf of its members to get the most compensation and be compensated fairly based on the value that they deliver."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, days after the interview, SAG-AFTRA's Fran Drescher responded by saying, "There he is sitting in his designer clothes, just got off his private jet at the billionaires' camp, telling us we're unrealistic," she said. "How do you deal with someone like that who's so tone-deaf? Are you an ignoramus?"