Writers working on film and television have reached a tentative deal with Hollywood studios, potentially bringing to a close one of the longest-running strikes in the industry’s history.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA), representing the writers, said that an agreement has been reached “in principle” on all deal points with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents studios, streaming services and producers.

“We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership,” said the WGA.

Reports indicate that most of the writers’ demands have been met, including greater royalty payments and assurance about the role of AI in audiovisual production.

The three-year contract for the deal still needs to be drafted and finalised, and must then be approved by the WGA’s council and members.

“What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language,” the union said.

The announcement is an indication of progress rather than a definitive end to what has become the second longest strike in the union’s history, which has cost the US economy around $5 billion (€4.7 billion)

“To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorised to by the Guild,” said the WGA.

It follows five days of intense discussions between WGA and AMPTP representatives. A deal was expected when the talks were extended to a third day, indicating promising and fruitful negotiations.

The WAG represents 11,500 writers, who walked off the job on 2nd May. They have been striking to demand resolution over issues of pay, the size of writing staff on television shows, and the use of AI in script-writing.

In July, writers were joined by over 100,000 actors represented by the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), who are striking over similar issues.

The deal between the writers and studios is likely to be used as a template for a similar agreement with actors, although negotiations have not yet started in that case.

The WAG suspended its picket line in the announcement of the possible agreement, but urged its members to join the actors’ picket line to show support.

The SAG-AFTRA congratulated the writers for the tentative agreement “after 146 days of incredible strength, resiliency and solidarity on the picket line.”

Malta was hit by the actors’ strike when production on the blockbuster Gladiator II was suspended after its stars joined the picket line.

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