Front Page Talking Points


Entertainment writers win major gains that end one of two strikes against TV and film studios


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Creators are back at work on film scripts, TV screenplays and late-night comedy shows after a five-week strike against producers and studios by the Writers Guild of America, a union with 11,500 members. The work stoppage, along with an actors' strike that began in July, halted new film and television productions, except for news, sports and reality shows. A three-year contract reached last week includes increases in wages and other payments, including the introduction of bonuses based on viewership levels of streaming shows. The union fought for that new reward to benefit writers of programs that become hits. Strikers also gain minimum staff requirements and guarantees that artificial intelligence won't cut into their credits and compensation. Studios can’t use A.I. tools to rewrite original material or force writers to use the technology. "We feel great. We won," says Meredith Stiehm, president of the union's West Coast branch.

Late-night network TV shows hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers return Monday this week. HBO's "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver" preceded them by a day. Studios resume development work on projects that've been on hold since the writers' strike began May 2, though filming can't happen until settlement of the three-month-old separate strike by the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Those two unions, which represent tens of thousands of performers, also are negotiating for wage increases, a cut of subscriber revenue when streaming projects succeed and rules on artificial intelligence.

Some TV series have already been canceled and film shoots pushed back to 2024. This was the first time since 1960 that industry writers and actors were on strike at the same time, and it became the longest writers' strike ever. California's economy has lost more than $5 billion from the labor actions, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom. In Los Angeles, Mayor Karen Bass says: “This historic strike impacted so many across Los Angeles and across the nation.”

Scriptwriter says: "Our negotiators knew the kind of deal they had to deliver — anything less than exceptional was not going to fly with a membership that has become younger, more active, possibly more radical." -- Bryce Schramm, a writer whose credits include the CW's "Dynasty" and Disney's "Runaways"

President Biden says: "I applaud the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for reaching a tentative agreement that will allow writers to return to the important work of telling the stories of our nation, our world – and of all of us. . . . I urge all employers to remember that all workers – including writers, actors, and autoworkers – deserve a fair share of the value their labor helped create." – Sept. 25 statement

Journalist says: "It seems as if David has, for once, overcome Goliath." -- Alexander Larman, The Spectator magazine

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for, Copyright 2024

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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.