After 148 days on strike, television and movie writers will begin returning to work on Wednesday.
The Writers Guild of America, which represents 11,500 screenwriters, said on Tuesday that three internal boards had voted unanimously to end the strike and send a tentative contract with entertainment companies to members for ratification. The vote will start on Monday and conclude on Oct. 9.
Members are expected to approve the three-year deal.
“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,” said Bryce Schramm, a writer whose credits include the CW’s “Dynasty” and Disney’s “Runaways.”
The Writers Guild and studios reached the tentative agreement on Sunday after a bitter standoff that contributed to a near-complete shutdown of film and television production. Guild leaders have repeatedly called the terms of the accord “exceptional.” Studios have declined to comment.
For the first time, the Writers Guild made those terms public on Tuesday. While not receiving everything it asked for, the union achieved major gains.
Residual payments (a form of royalty) for overseas viewing of streaming would increase 76 percent, according to the union. Netflix’s foreign residual, for instance, would total $32,830 for a one-hour episode over three years, up from $18,684.
For the first time, writers will receive a bonus from streaming services that is based on a percentage of active subscribers. The guild had demanded that entertainment companies establish a viewership-based bonus to reward programs that become hits.
On the contentious issue of minimum staffing for television shows, at least three writer-producers must be hired for writers’ rooms for first-season shows running 20 weeks or longer. Minimum staffing for additional seasons will be tied to the number of episodes.
Studios had initially refused to negotiate at all on the guild’s demand for minimum staffing, calling it “a hiring quota that is incompatible with the creative nature of our industry.” The Writers Guild had been seeking a minimum of six writers.
The tentative contract also contains guarantees that artificial intelligence technology will not encroach on writers’ credits and compensation. Studios cannot use A.I. tools to rewrite original material. Writers, however, can use the technology for assistance if the company they are working for allows it; studios cannot force them to use it.
Studios, however, will still be able to experiment with artificial intelligence. In particular, they can use film and TV scripts they already own to refine A.I. tools — something the guild fought.
During negotiations in April before the strike, studios refused to engage on the topic of artificial intelligence, saying too much was unknown about the technology. They said the guild would have to wait until contract negotiations in 2026. Studio leaders have since called their early refusal to negotiate on the issue an error. It was one of the reasons the guild called a strike.