WGA & AMPTP stand-off extends with no immediate return to negotiations after talks

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The stand-off between the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) and The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) shows little sign of abating, with talks on Friday failing to provide any meaningful developments.

The negotiations – the first in three months – saw WGA officials Ellen Stutzman and Tony Segall meeting with AMPTP representatives but no agreement was struck to restart formal talks.

Stumbling blocks

US reports suggest that the staffing levels of writers rooms and residual payments based on viewing remain key challenges, with the WGA claiming that the AMPTP was “not willing to engage” on either topic.

In a WGA email to members late on Friday, the writers union did however add that the AMPTP was “willing to talk about AI” and increase its offer on “a few” TV minimums.

But there has been no immediate sign that an end to the stalemate is in sight, with the WGA confirming on Friday that the AMPTP needed to consult with members.

“On behalf of the Guild, Ellen reiterated the expectation that all the fundamental issues over which writers have been striking these past three months would be addressed in this new contract, and that no segment of the membership would be left behind,” the WGA email told its members said.

There are also fears that WGA members’ solidarity with actors striking as part of SAG-AFTRA could mean that a strike will continue until both unions have agreed deals with the US studios, potentially extending the stand-off.

The WGA has been on strike since 2 May, seeking fairness around residuals on shorter seasons, regulation of AI and shrinking writers room sizes.

Their strike was followed by action from SAG-AFTRA, with the actor’s union also halting work last month, bringing Hollywood productions to a standstill.

A report in May from ratings agency Moody’s suggested that US studios could face cost increases of up to $600m a year as a result of the writers’ strike, meaning price rises for buyers of US shows as a consequence.

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