US writers strike looms as Writers Guild of America sets AMPTP talks date

The likelihood of a US writers strike is set to become clearer in the coming weeks, after The Writers Guild of America (WGA) confirmed it would start negotiations on 20 March.

The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) will attempt to determine a new Minimum Basic Agreement, with the current deal set to end on 1 May.

The AMPTP, which leads discussions for the major US studios, said it would be “fully committed to reaching a fair and reasonable deal that brings strength and stability to the industry.”

The WGA, which confirmed the date but declined to comment further, is expected to focus on raising basic wages, residuals from streaming and the latter’s use of smaller writers rooms compared with those used on network shows.

The AMPTP is also facing discussions with the Directors Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA, with those deals set to run out at the end of June.

The looming potential of writers strikes has become a regular occurrence over the past decade as streaming disrupts traditional models, in particular residual payments for writers.

A strike in 2017 was narrowly averted but a decade before, writers walked out for 100 days in a move that forced shows such as Breaking Bad to cut episodes to deal with the fall-out.

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