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Hollywood writers' guild deadline passes; no word on deal

03 May 2017

The deal will now go to the Writers Guild of America's boards for approval and to members for ratification.

The union said it also made strides in pay for series with fewer episodes per season, and in residuals. But the WGA's co-chairs, Chip Johannessen, Chris Keyser and Billy Ray, issued a letter to members saying that the guild netted more than $130 million to keep the union alive for years to come.

Firm details of the agreement are not yet available, but news of it slowly spread throughout the WGA membership early Tuesday morning.

For consumers, the immediate effects of a strike would have been visible first in late-night television, sidelining programs hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, and Jimmy Kimmel, among others.

Despite the strike authorization, neither side seemed to have an appetite for a walkout, which would have caused widespread disruption of production at a time when the TV industry is booming.

For a look at what might have happened had writers struck, read this. "If you've left anything great in your office on a studio lot, consider packing it up on Monday-just in case".

The guild was demanding higher pay for TV writers and bigger contributions to the union health fund. Writers complained they were constrained by exclusivity clauses, preventing many from working on more than one show per season. As a lengthy piece in Variety explains, the issue at hand was that writers weren't being fairly paid for their work on, say, 13-episode shows-the elite Peak TV series that critics tend to fawn over-compared to the old school 22-episode runs. The guild also secured another first-time addition to its contract with producers: job protection for WGA members on parental leave. You'll recall that in 2007 a strike DID occur and billions in revenue was lost. Some took to social media to express solidarity, changing pictures on Twitter to spotlight their support. Stars including Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tina Fey joined picket lines, and then-"Tonight Show" host Jay Leno brought doughnuts for strikers.

It's worth pointing out that the first time a writer's strike took place in the U.S., it gave birth to reality television as we know it - Cops, for example, was born out of necessity.

"I'm thinking of all the businesses that I work with at Warner Bros for several months out of the year and (the) restaurants, shoe fix, dry cleaners", she said during an interview promoting her new film, The Lovers.

The new deal will have to be approved by the WGA and its members will have to ratify it.