A Deal in Hollywood – The New York Times

A writers’ strike has frozen Hollywood for months. Studios delayed the production of TV shows and movies, including fan favorites like “Stranger Things” and new “Star Wars” films. Organizers postponed the Emmys. Talk shows went on hiatus.

But the strike now seems poised to end. Writers and studios have reached a tentative deal, the Writers Guild of America announced yesterday.

W.G.A. members had demanded higher pay, greater royalties, better working conditions and protections against artificial intelligence. The tentative deal includes most of what the writers sought. In the coming days, union members will vote on whether to approve the agreement.

“We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional — with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership,” the W.G.A. negotiating committee told union members yesterday.

The studios, notably, were not celebrating.

Negotiations had stalled for months. They regained momentum last week when studio executives, including Disney’s powerful chief executive, Bob Iger, came to the table. After five days, both sides reached an agreement.

The use of A.I. was the final sticking point. The writers didn’t want studios to use their work to teach chatbots how to write, feeding A.I. old scripts so the chatbots could generate writing in a similar style.

The writers also worried that studios would ask chatbots to rewrite or refine the first drafts of their work — for scenes or whole shows. “That’s the nightmare scenario,” said John August, who is on the Writers Guild negotiating committee.

The studios had initially said that too much was unknown about the technology, and that the guild would need to wait to discuss it in future contract negotiations.

But over the weekend, the studios proposed a few paragraphs to be inserted into the new contract that addressed a writers’ concern about A.I. and old scripts. The two sides spent several hours negotiating the language on the final night of talks.

An end to the writers’ strike would not mean that Hollywood is back to full working order. A separate actors’ strike, led by SAG-AFTRA, is continuing. The actors want 2 percent of the total revenue generated by streaming shows, something that studios have said is a nonstarter. There are no talks scheduled between the two sides.

The combination of the writers’ and actors’ strikes had halted work on shows like “Yellowstone” and movies like the next installment of “Mission Impossible.” More than 100,000 behind-the-scenes staff, like camera operators and makeup artists, are still out of work. The actors’ strike also hindered marketing, by preventing union members from going on press tours.

With writers most likely heading back to work, daytime and late-night talk show hosts like Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Jennifer Hudson could soon return to the air.

Earlier this month, some talk show hosts, including Drew Barrymore and Bill Maher, announced that they would bypass the writers’ strike and restart production of their talk shows. After a fierce backlash from their staffs and audiences, they delayed production once again.

  • The Writers Guild suspended picketing — but encouraged members to join the striking actors’ picket lines, which will begin again tomorrow.

  • The stock prices for Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global have taken a hit during the strikes.

  • Hollywood writers thanked their negotiators on social media. “You saved our profession,” one wrote.

  • Hundreds of filmmakers attending an awards gala cheered when the deal was announced from the stage, The Hollywood Reporter writes.

  • An archaeologist found a 3,000-year-old arrow in Norway. It is among the thousands of artifacts emerging as climate change thaws permafrost and glaciers.

  • Many of the world’s largest food companies have not made progress on their emission reduction goals. Some, like McDonald’s, have reported rising levels.

  • Hot-weather cherries and drought-resistant melons: Meet the crops that could change how we eat in a warming world.

  • A NASA spacecraft returned to Earth after seven years. It carried material from a carbon-rich asteroid that could reveal clues about the origins of our solar system.

  • Few U.S. hospitals have restored mask mandates as Covid infections rise. Health care workers and public health experts are divided.

  • The F.B.I. opened a civil rights investigation into allegations that police officers in Baton Rouge, La., abused and humiliated detainees in an unmarked “torture warehouse.

When music educators focus on fun instead of perfection, they inspire children to love music, Sammy Miller writes.

Powdered hair to hoodies: How dress in the Senate has evolved.

The pastry is political: Mooncakes — dense Chinese pastries — are being used in protest, The Washington Post reports.

Metropolitan Diary: Witnessing a missed connection in real time.

Lives Lived: Matteo Messina Denaro was a convicted killer and high-ranking mobster who had eluded capture for three decades. He died at 61.

Pittsburgh wins: The Steelers beat the Las Vegas Raiders, 23-18, with a strong defensive performance.

Around the league: The Miami Dolphins scored 70 points, the most in an N.F.L. game since 1966, in a rout of the Denver Broncos. And the Chicago Bears’ struggles continued — with a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, they have now lost 13 straight games going back to last season.

N.F.L.: Women are increasingly taking on roles as scouts and assistant coaches. They have formed support systems to navigate the male-dominated world.

Dartmouth: Buddy Teevens, a pioneering football coach who banned tackling during practices, died at 66.

Battle over history: Construction has not yet begun on the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino, but a political fight is already boiling over how the museum will present its material. Conservative commentators blasted its first preview exhibition, accusing it of putting a Marxist bent on history, and a group of Latino Republican congressmen led a vote to eliminate the museum’s funding. The outcry led the museum’s director to replace a planned exhibition on civil rights with one about salsa music, to the dismay of some Latino scholars.

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