The Writers Guild of America met again with representatives of the major studios on Thursday, as negotiators continued to search for a path toward resolving the 108-day writers strike.
The CEOs of the major studios — including Ted Sarandos of Netflix and David Zaslav of Warner Bros. Discovery — are also expected to hold a joint call on Friday to discuss the next move in the talks. Donna Langley of NBCUniversal and Dana Walden and Alan Bergman of Disney are also expected to participate.
A resolution has remained elusive, after the WGA delivered its response to the latest proposal from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Tuesday. The two sides remain far apart on several items, including a staffing minimum in TV and a viewership-based streaming residual.
Several sources on the studio side professed shock and frustration at the guild’s response. They also said they are reluctant to “negotiate with ourselves” to get a deal.
But one avenue of potential progress is to seek agreement in limited areas where the two sides are closer together, and hope that creates momentum to make deals on harder issues.
The CEOs have taken a personal interest in getting a deal, as they also face business challenges on several other fronts this fall. The top executives have also faced criticism over their pay packages and scrutiny of their public remarks about the strike.
The CEOs were involved in making the offer to the WGA last Friday that included provisions on TV staff size and transparency on the performance of streaming shows. The sources expressed a view that the offer was generous, and they hoped it could lead to a breakthrough in the negotiations. The WGA counter gave ground on numbers, but not on the basic structure of its proposals.
WGA leaders have cautioned members to disregard studio leaks, but otherwise have not given a formal update on talks since last Friday.
The negotiations have been led by the AMPTP, the entity that bargains on behalf of the major studios and more than 200 other companies. But the ultimate decisions on how to proceed rests with the top CEOs.
The WGA issued a report on Thursday castigating Netflix, Amazon and Disney for abusing their position of dominance in the industry to lower writers’ pay. The guild also called on antitrust regulators to block further consolidation among entertainment companies.
Jennifer Maas contributed to this story.
From Variety US