After an unexpected Wednesday postponement, SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood studios and streamers have reportedly made steady progress in their negotiations toward a new contract. According to insiders from the studios are knowledgeable about the talks, discussions have shown promising signs.
While SAG-AFTRA has yet to confirm the continuation of talks for Friday, there is an expectation that discussions will carry on. A representative from the guild declined to comment, stating the organization’s commitment to bargaining in good faith with the studios for a fair deal.
On Thursday, the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee held discussions with key industry figures. This included AMPTP president Carol Lombardini and a quartet of CEOs deeply involved in labor talks, namely Bob Iger of Disney, Donna Langley of NBCUniversal, David Zaslav of Warner Bros. Discovery, and Ted Sarandos of Netflix. These talks began later in the day than usual due to schedule conflicts.
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the guild’s national executive director and chief negotiator, appeared at the Paramount picket line on Thursday morning alongside rap star Kurtis Blow, who was offering his support to SAG-AFTRA, along with his labor organizing group, Hip Hop Alliance.
While progress has been reported on key issues related to streaming compensation and minimum rate increases, a final agreement has not yet been reached with the studios.
Previously, SAG-AFTRA had requested that their scheduled talks with the studios be postponed to allow more time to review the studios’ latest proposal. If discussions continue on Friday, it would mark an acceleration in the pace of negotiations, shifting from an every-other-day schedule to daily meetings. This change underscores the growing urgency among studios to reach an agreement.
Industry insiders have expressed concerns that the 2023-24 TV season may be in jeopardy if a contract isn’t finalized within the next two weeks.
There are also indications that some films originally slated for release in 2024 might have to be rescheduled if an agreement isn’t reached soon, as seen with Paramount’s Mission: Impossible 8 earlier this week.
Prior to the start of these talks, insiders from both sides had noted that even in the best-case scenario, reaching a tentative agreement would require several days of negotiations. In addition to streaming and minimum rates, there are actor-specific issues representing a wide range of performers under the purview of SAG-AFTRA that still need to be addressed in the ongoing negotiations.
As the talks continue, the entertainment industry closely watches the progress toward a new contract that could have a significant impact on the future of Hollywood productions and the livelihoods of the many professionals involved.
For Reel 360 News’ full strike coverage, click here.