Actors strike ends: SAG-AFTRA leadership OKs tentative deal with major Hollywood studios
After 118 days, Hollywood actors, represented by SAG-AFTRA, have ended their strike by unanimously approving a three-year deal with major studios and streamers, like Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Amazon. The tentative agreement, reached on November 9, officially marks the strike’s conclusion and the cessation of all picket activities.
This agreement permits the resumption of TV show and movie production, which had been largely dormant for six months following the Writers Guild of America’s walkout on May 2. Approximately 60,000 union members were affected by this prolonged strike. The union members are anticipated to conduct a vote shortly to officially ratify the agreement, signaling a step closer for actors to return to filming.
As a result, networks might salvage segments of the 2023-24 TV season by airing new episodes of scripted series as early as February, while the film industry can reboot production to fill a depleted content pipeline.
Negotiations, after a prolonged halt, resumed on October 24. The discussions involved key executives from four Hollywood studios as both sides endeavored to reach a resolution. The initial meeting on October 2 had led to an impasse, prompting the AMPTP to withdraw from talks on October 11, citing unproductive discussions.
The tentative agreement signals a positive turn of events, signaling the end of a significant period of unrest and a pathway for Hollywood actors to resume their roles and revive the entertainment industry from its prolonged lull.
This resolution is a welcome relief for both the entertainment industry and audiences eagerly awaiting new shows and movies, marking a positive stride towards the revival of the creative landscape.
Fran Drescher, SAG-AFTRA President, Prepared for Prolonged Strike
Fran Drescher, SAG-AFTRA President and renowned for her role in the ’90s sitcom “The Nanny,” had expressed the union’s preparedness for an extended strike in July. The union’s demands encompassed increased actors’ salaries and compensation models tied to the success of their shows and movies on streaming platforms, aiming to safeguard actors against the utilization of Artificial Intelligence and digital replicas by studios.
The recent contract, valued at over $1 billion, signifies a significant breakthrough for SAG-AFTRA. It encompasses pay hikes, pivotal protections against AI threats, and introduces a novel “streaming participation bonus,” among other benefits. The union described the accord as one that will pave the way for sustainable careers across various categories of its members, benefiting present and future performers.
The studio group heralded the agreement as “a new paradigm,” expressing contentment in reaching this tentative agreement, anticipating the resurgence of the entertainment industry’s narrative-building endeavors.
Throughout the summer and autumn, actors stood in solidarity with WGA members, who endured a 148-day strike. The dual strikes, by both actors and writers, led to a significant standstill in Hollywood’s movie and TV production.
The WGA’s September 27 vote confirmed their deal with AMPTP, prompting the return of several TV shows to the screen, including popular programs like “Saturday Night Live,” and daytime and late-night talk shows such as “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
In a congratulatory gesture, the WGA praised SAG-AFTRA’s achievement on their official X account, lauding the newly secured protections and increased benefits for performers.
The successful negotiation and subsequent contract marked a significant victory for the SAG-AFTRA members, solidifying a path toward fair compensation, protection against modern industry challenges, and a more equitable share of the value they contribute to the entertainment landscape.