AMPTP Would Give Showrunners Latitude to Set Size of TV Writing Staff

The Writers Guild of America is expected to meet in the coming days with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, amid rising hopes for a resolution of the three-month strike.

The WGA is set to respond to the studios’ latest offer, which was presented on Friday.

The AMPTP delivered proposals that touched on all of the guild’s major issues, according to sources familiar with the talks, including some that had been characterized as non-starters.

In particular, the studios addressed the WGA’s demand for a TV staff minimum. The studio proposal would give showrunners significant authority to set the size of the staff, according to the sources, with an additional factor for the size of the show’s budget.

The studios also addressed the guild’s demand for greater transparency on viewership data on streaming platforms, though the studio proposal would not tie compensation to that data. Bloomberg was first to report that provision.

The studios and offered a more thorough set of regulations around the use of artificial intelligence, closer to the proposal offered by the WGA in talks in March. The studios had already committed that AI would not be considered a “writer” under the contract, but the guild is also looking for guarantees that AI will not be used to undercut writers’ compensation and credit.

The WGA strike began on May 2, with some 11,500 writers asking studios for increases in pay and provisions that would preserve the writers’ room from cost-cutting, among other issues.

The AMPTP has previously indicated that it would stick to the economic terms given to the Directors Guild of America, which includes a 21% increase in streaming residuals and increases of 5%, 4% and 3.5% in most minimums. The AMPTP has also agreed to create a higher tier of minimums for writer-producers.

The negotiations resumed on Friday on the 102nd day of the strike. On the picket lines on Monday, several writers expressed cautious optimism about the progress of negotiations.

“Everybody’s hopes are up,” said Julie Larson, a WGA captain at the Fox studio. “But not just for a resolution — for a great resolution, whenever that comes. We have such great negotiators… They won’t give up until they get a great deal for us.”

Rich Manning, who was picketing at Sony, said he was somewhat encouraged by the latest discussions.

“It feels a little hopeful,” Manning said. “But this is my third strike, so I’ve learned not to get too optimistic too soon. The fact that they’re talking is good, of course… We’ll see what they come up with.”

As SAG-AFTRA began its own strike on July 14, the historic dual labor action shut down most productions in Hollywood and beyond, raising questions about the upcoming film festivals and the fall theatrical release calendar. Artificial intelligence has emerged as one of the most contentious issues among both writers and actors as the technology becomes increasingly sophisticated.

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