The WGA is heading back to the bargaining table with the CEOs of Netflix, Disney, Universal, and Warner Bros Discovery on Friday.
“The WGA and AMPTP met for bargaining today and will meet again tomorrow,” said the guild in a message to members after a long session Thursday night. Executives Ted Sarandos, Bob Iger, Donna Langley and David Zaslav are all anticipated to be in attendance Friday, along with AMPTP president Carol Lombardini and a praetorian guard of lawyers. On the other side, 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 guild wanted to convey late tonight after an unresolved marathon negotiating session with the studies and streamers.
“Your Negotiating Committee appreciates all the messages of solidarity and support we have received the last few days, and ask 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 strength in front of studio lots and offices in L.A. and New York on Friday.
The WGA’s missive came soon after news broke that the guild, the AMPTP and the CEO Gang of Four were unable to close a deal to end the soon-to-be 144-day writers strike. With the industry essentially shut down for almost five months, almost no one working, and the greater Los Angeles County facing an estimated economic hit of up to $5 billion, there were high hopes an agreement was in the offering tonight — especially with the CEOs in the room and engaged.
Rumors had been picking up steam all day that a deal was close after a second solid day of deliberations. When tonight’s bargaining session suddenly went longer than expected, that hearsay became a hurricane as agents, execs, showrunners and other began optimistically texting and DM’ing one another. Of course, a deal proved not to be in the cards – which leaves the writers still on strike.
It additionally leaves the 160,000-strong SAG-AFTRA out on strike too, and no closer to a new three-year contract of their own.
After today’s roller-coaster ride and the disappointment of tonight, enthusiasm about whether Friday’s negotiating session will be more successful may be harder to come by.
The WGA went on strike on May 2; the actors’ union will hit its 70th day on the picket lines Friday.