WGA Members ‘Guardedly Optimistic’ as CEOs Show Up for Strike Negotiations With Guild

Striking writers on expressed cautious optimism while Bob Iger and other execs appeared at the restart of negotiations

SAG-AFTRA members joined WGA members on the writers' picket lines outside Netflix headquarters in May, and are now set to join in an actors strike of their own
SAG-AFTRA members joined WGA members on the writers' picket lines outside Netflix's Los Angeles headquarters Tuesday. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As talks resumed on Wednesday morning between Hollywood studios and the Writers Guild of America, members of the guild on the picket lines were “guardedly optimistic” about a resolution to the strike, now in its fifth month. And to emphasize the importance of these new negotiations, Hollywood CEOs — including Disney’s Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav and Universal’s Donna Langley — appeared at the meeting between the AMPTP and WGA, multiple individuals with knowledge of the meeting told TheWrap.

“I always like it better when they’re talking,” one WGA member told TheWrap on the picket line outside Amazon. “It is still important to be out here, got to keep doing our thing, but it is better to talk than not to talk.”

Both sides are trying once again to reach a deal for a new contract nearly a month after a heated meeting between guild leaders and the AMPTP. The presence of top studio brass underlines the urgency of making a deal. TheWrap exclusively reported that showrunners had an emotional meeting with the WGA negotiating committee on Monday in which they stressed the crippling financial situation many are suffering through.

Regardless of frayed nerves throughout the industry ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, “Family Guy” executive producer Patrick Meighan said he remains resolute until a fair deal is done.

“The vibe is the same it has been for the last 142 days,” Meighan said. “We are united and we are determined to keep doing this till we get a fair contract.”

Another WGA member TheWrap spoke to said he’s happy that both sides are at least communicating, but wouldn’t be surprised if nothing comes out of the latest round of meetings.

“I always feel more optimistic when they’re communicating with each other but at the same time, it’s Charlie Brown with the football. You don’t want to get your hopes up.”

The central question hovering over this round of discussions is the extent to which each party is prepared to make concessions, given the mounting pressure to reach a resolution.

Recently, certain showrunners have voiced significant concerns to the WGA leadership regarding the economic stability of both the writers and crew members involved in their productions, emphasizing the need for progress in reaching a deal.

The WGA strike has endured for 142 days and is just two weeks shy of surpassing the 1988 writers’ strike, becoming the lengthiest strike in the history of the entertainment industry. And of course, once a deal is reached with the WGA, the AMPTP has to turn its attention to SAG-AFTRA which has been on strike for over two months.

For all of TheWrap’s WGA strike coverage, read here.