AFP via Getty Images
Four Hollywood CEOs returned to the bargaining table Thursday for a second day of talks with the Writers Guild of America as the industry awaited signs of progress toward an agreement that would end a 143-day strike.
After 6 p.m., the CEOs were in the room at Sherman Oaks as the marathon bargaining session continued.
CEOs attending the session again included Disney’s Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslau, NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos.
Although significant issues remain, the two sides are making progress in several areas, sources said. It is unclear whether the CEOs will be able to return to a third day of negotiations on Friday, although sources insist the parties aim to use the momentum and are committed to securing a deal.
They said the studios had made moves in several areas that they believed would be enough to break the logjam. But it’s unclear whether WGA leaders will consider AMPTP’s latest proposals and changes enough to meet writers’ demands.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is said to have offered success-based residuals, which take the form of bonuses for streaming shows that reach certain audience thresholds.
The WGA has proposed an audience-based residual that increases by a set amount for every 2.5 million views, where a “view” is counted when at least half of the show is watched at any given time.
The WGA has requested a minimum staff size for each TV show, which increases with the number of episodes in a season. AMPTP has opposed leaving staffing decisions up to the showrunners, rather than being determined by a “one size fits all” formula. The studio alliance was believed to hold that public position, although it may have made some moves on its offer.
Both sides spent part of Wednesday’s session discussing artificial intelligence. AMPTP previously said the pages were close to a deal that would allow writers to use AI without affecting their pay or credit. The main sticking point was the WGA’s demand that AI systems not be allowed to train on writers’ scripts.
If studios can address that issue with writers, it could help address the same concern with SAG-AFTRA. SAG-AFTRA has even deeper concerns about the use of AI to mimic actors’ likenesses, and has raised concerns over AI training.
The move has created considerable hope that a deal will be reached, with some predicting a tentative deal could even be reached as early as Thursday. But the WGA has poured cold water on it, with some leaders commenting on Twitter that the rumors were meant to boost confidence and that the WGA would be unfair to reject the latest offer.
The WGA strike began on May 2. SAG-AFTRA has been on strike since July 14.
Jennifer Moss and Cynthia Littleton contributed to this story.