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Hollywood writers frustrated as talks languish

The Hollywood writers’ strike marks 100 days on Wednesday with contract talks stalled and people on the picket lines protesting what they describe as a disregard for their demands.

The strike began on May 2 after negotiations between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the major studios reached an impasse over compensation, minimum staffing of writers’ rooms and residual payments in the streaming era, among other issues.

Writers also sought to regulate the use of artificial intelligence, which they fear could replace their creative input.

Entertainment industry executives have been trying to navigate the cross-currents of declining television revenues, a movie box office that has yet to return to pre-COVID levels, and streaming businesses that are largely struggling to turn a profit.

“We are in some uncharted waters,” Warner Bros Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav told investors last week, as the company warned that uncertainty over labor unrest in Hollywood could impact the timing of the company’s film slate and its ability to produce and deliver content.

Actors represented by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) went on strike on July 14 also over pay and artificial intelligence, effectively halting production of scripted television shows and films and impacting businesses throughout the entertainment world’s orbit. It is the first time both unions have gone on strike since 1960.

A meeting last week to discuss resuming talks between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the group representing the major studios in negotiations, resulted in no firm date for returning to the bargaining table. Reuters

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