The entertainment industry are inches away from scraping up the debris left by the 100-day long Hollywood writers strike after reaching a tentative agreement over the weekend.
On Sunday, guild leaders recommended a tentative three-year contract to its members and asked them to vote separately. The group also said they cancelled further picketing that was scheduled for this week. TV producers say they expect writers to be back at work as early as Wednesday.
The 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America have until the end of today to vote, either in person or by fax, on the decision to suspend the strike. Members will then vote on Tuesday by union rank and file on whether to lift the strike.
Membership meetings will be held Tuesday in New York and Los Angeles, said Patric Verrone, president of the guild's West Coast branch.
Since we began negotiations in July, we've been saying, 'If they get paid, we get paid'. This contract makes that a reality, he told a news conference. It's the best deal this guild has bargained for in 30 years, after the most successful strike this guild has waged in 35 years.
The tentative contract secures writers a share of the burgeoning digital-media market, he said, including compensation for Internet-delivered TV shows and movies.
Once the strike comes to an end, many hit TV series can return this spring after leaving fans watching non-stop reruns. However, shows with marginal audience numbers may not return until fall, or could be canceled entirely.
Industry members said that a minimum of four weeks would be needed for producers to start from scratch with their first post-strike episodes of comedies and get them on the air. A drama would require six to eight weeks from concept to broadcast.
The strike, the first in 20 years for the writers guild, began Nov. 5 and included bitter exchanges between the guild and the producers alliance. Talks broke down in December.
Details of the tentative deal include:
- When users download content, writers will receive .36 percent of distributor's gross receipts for the first 100,000 downloads of a television program and the first 50,000 of a feature film. Thereafter, the pay will be increased to .7 percent and .65 percent, respectively.
- During the third year of the contract, writers are entitled to receive 2 percent of distributor's gross receipts for ad-supported streaming of television after a promotional window.
- When a networks plans to integrate a storyline of drama episode, they will need to first consult the show runner to ask for permission.