WGA Talks Will Continue Friday After ‘Significant Progress’ on Thursday

WGA asks “as many of you as possible” to continue picketing in memo to members late Thursday night

WGA AMPTP Guild talks start
(Credit: Christopher Smith for TheWrap)

Updated, Thursday, 9:50 p.m.

Talks between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood studios will resume Friday following what insiders told TheWrap was “significant progress” during negotiations on Thursday.

WGA confirmed the continuation of talks in a memo to members sent Thursday night, in which the guild’s leadership added that it “appreciates all the messages of solidarity and support we have received the last few days.”

The memo also asked that “as many of you as possible to come out to the picket lines tomorrow,” signaling that WGA intends to keep the pressure on studios until a new deal is hammered out.

Both the guilds and studios have kept the details of the negotiations confidential, though studio insiders say there’s a sense of renewed momentum as the four CEOs who attended previous meetings with WGA negotiators — Disney’s Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley — returned for talks on Thursday.

Two insiders with knowledge of the talks say there’s even more optimism after Thursday’s talks that a deal is within sight, though exactly when a tentative agreement would be announced is difficult to say. But it’s notable that the two sides have opted not to break early in advance of the Yom Kippur holiday on Monday.

Outside the negotiating room, ABC is considering delaying the Sept. 26 premiere of the upcoming season of “Dancing With The Stars” amid WGA picket lines outside its rehearsal spaces and the decision by “Veep” star Matt Walsh, who is a WGA member, to not participate until a deal with the Writers Guild is reached.

Whenever a deal is reached, the tentative agreement will be submitted to the guild’s members for ratification, a process that will take several weeks to allow for voting and for informational sessions to allow members to ask questions about the details.

Even after a contract is ratified, it will be likely that many WGA members will choose to stay on the picket lines in support of SAG-AFTRA, whom the AMPTP has not yet reached out to for renewed talks since the actors guild’s strike began on July 14. While writers rooms could resume with a WGA deal, actors will need to ratify their own agreement before productions could begin again.