LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Striking Hollywood writers are going back to work.
===========IMAGE=======================/IMAGE======================CAPTION==========The Writers Guild of America said its members voted Tuesday to end
their devastating, three-month strike that brought the entertainment
industry to a standstill.
endclickprintexcludeWriters will be back on the job Wednesday after voting in Beverly Hills and New York."At the end of the day, everybody won," Leslie Moonves, chief executive officer of CBS Corp., told The Associated Press."It was a fair deal and one that the companies can live with, and it
recognizes the large contribution that writers have made to the
industry."Moonves was among the media executives who helped broker a deal after talks between the
guild and the
Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios, collapsed in acrimony in December.Residuals for TV shows and movies distributed online was the most
contentious issue in the bitter dispute involving the 12,000-member
union and the world's largest media companies and other producers.
Under a tentative contract approved Sunday by the union's board of
directors, writers would get a maximum flat fee of about $1,200 for
streamed programs in the deal's first two years and then get 2 percent
of a distributor's gross in year three.
endclickprintexclude"These advances now give
us a foothold in the digital age," said Patric Verrone, president of
the West Coast guild. "Rather than being shut out of the future of
content creation and delivery, writers will lead the way as television
migrates to the Internet."One winner in the vote was the
Academy Awards, which can now be staged February 24 without the threat
of pickets or a boycott by actors that would have dulled the glamour of
Hollywood's signature celebration.The strike's end will allow
many hit series to return this spring for what's left of the current
season, airing anywhere from four to seven new episodes. Shows with
marginal audience numbers may not return until fall or could be
canceled."It will be all hands on deck for the writing staff,"
said Chris Mundy, co-executive producer of CBS' drama "Criminal Minds."
He hopes to get a couple of scrīpts in the pipeline right away, with
about seven episodes airing by the end of May.The combined New
York-Beverly Hills count was overwhelmingly in favor of ending the
strike: 3,492 voted yes, with only 283 voting to stay off the job.Writers did not vote on whether to formally accept the tentative deal,
which was reached after a February 1 breakthrough between union
negotiators and studio executives.The guild will mail contract
ratification ballots to members over the next few days. Writers can
also vote at meetings. All ballots must be cast by February 25.The walkout stopped work on dozens of TV shows, disrupted movie
production and turned the usually star-studded Golden Globes show into
a news conference. It also dealt a severe financial blow to a wide
range of businesses dependent on work from studios.The strike
took a $3.2 billion toll in direct and indirect costs on the economy of
Los Angeles County, the home of most of the nation's TV and film
production, according to a new estimate from Jack Kyser, chief
economist for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.The last writers strike, a 153-day walkout in 1988, caused an estimated $500 million in lost wages.The latest strike began November 5, and formal negotiations broke off
December 7 after the guild pushed to unionize writers on reality and
animated productions.Informal talks began January 23 between
studio heads and the union, which extended an olive branch by
withdrawing its proposal to organize reality and animated shows. It
also decided against picketing the Grammy Awards.Pressure to
reach an agreement mounted after the studio alliance reached a
tentative contract January 17 with the Directors Guild of America.
Among the executives who took the lead in breaking the impasse were
Peter Chernin, chief operating officer of News Corp., and Robert Iger,
CEO of The Walt Disney Co.
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