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The WGA returns to the negotiating table with the CEOs of Netflix, Disney, Universal and Warner Bros Discovery on Friday.
“The WGA and AMPTP met to bargain today and will meet again tomorrow,” the union said in a letter to members after a long session Thursday night. Executive Directors Ted Sarandos, Bob Iger, Donna Langley and David Zaslav are expected to be present Friday, along with AMPTP President Carole Lombardini and a Praetorian guard of lawyers. On the other hand, WGA chief negotiator Ellen Stutzman, along with David Goodman and Chris Keyser, will also be in the room at the AMPTP’s Sherman Oaks offices.
Scheduling and attendance weren’t the only messages the union wanted to convey late night after an unresolved marathon negotiating session with studies and signs.
“Your negotiating committee appreciates all of the messages of solidarity and support we have received in the past few days, and asks as many of you as possible to come out to the picket lines tomorrow,” the WGA wrote to members in a call for a show of force in front of studios and offices in Los Angeles and New York on Friday.
The WGA’s letter came shortly after news emerged that the guild, AMPTP and CEO Gang of Four were unable to strike a deal to end the soon-to-be-continued 144-day writers’ strike. With the industry essentially shut down for nearly five months, almost no one working, and greater Los Angeles County facing an economic hit estimated at up to $5 billion, there were high hopes for a deal on the show tonight — especially with the CEOs in the room and engaged.
Rumors had been growing all day that the deal had been closed after a strong second day of deliberations. When tonight’s bargaining session suddenly took longer than expected, the rumor became a hurricane as agents, execs, presenters, and others optimistically began texting and direct messaging each other. Naturally, a deal proved to be nowhere in sight – which is why the writers are still on strike.
Additionally, it leaves the 160,000-strong SAG-AFTRA on strike as well, and no closer to a new three-year contract of their own.
After today’s choppy round and tonight’s disappointment, it may be difficult to get excited about whether Friday’s negotiating session will be more successful.
The WGA went on strike on May 2. The Actors Guild will reach its 70th day on picket lines on Friday.
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