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Hollywood writers to resume talks over strike

Hollywood studios will meet with writers this week to discuss reopening talks for the first time since a strike began nearly 100 days ago.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) walkout, which kicked off May 2 over pay and the threat of artificial intelligence, has brought US film and television production to a halt, AFP reported.

Writers have been joined on the picket lines since last month by the much larger Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) — including A-list stars such as Sean Penn — ramping up pressure on the likes of Disney and Netflix to return to negotiations.

Studios “reached out to the WGA today and requested a meeting this Friday to discuss negotiations,” the union said in an email to members on Tuesday.

“We’ll be back in communication with you sometime after the meeting with further information.”

The first Hollywood “double strike” by writers and actors in six decades has meant movie productions are shut down, glitzy premieres are scrapped, and events such as the Emmys are delayed as stars are banned from promoting TV shows.

The strikes are costing the entertainment industry and the California economy several million dollars per day.

Writers are demanding higher pay and a greater share of profits from the boom in streaming, while studios say they must cut costs to cope with economic pressures.

Other major disagreements include the growing trend for TV shows to hire fewer writers, for shorter durations, to script series — and studios’ refusal to offer protection against the future use of artificial intelligence in writing.

While writers appear poised to return to talks, actors remains at an impasse with studios, which are represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

“We have not heard from the AMPTP since July 12 when they told us they would not be willing to continue talks for quite some” time, SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland told trade outlet Deadline on Wednesday.