After days of back-and-forth about whether there would be a meeting between WGA leadership and a dozen or so high-level showrunners about the status of negotiations and concerns about ending the strike, the previously scheduled meeting has been canceled, an individual with knowledge told TheWrap.
The meeting was allegedly canceled as news broke on Thursday evening that the WGA union and the AMPTP were potentially returning to the negotiation table. The writers strike began on May 2 and is about to end its 20th week. Beyond the announcement which renewed hopes of a swift or swifter resolution, that the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah beginning Friday night at sundown was reportedly a factor in the scuttling of the meeting.
The AMPTP and the WGA both released statements on Thursday night indicating that they were attempting to schedule a return to negotiations as soon as next week. Talks had been frozen in place as both sides felt it was the other side’s responsibility to make a counteroffer.
The longest strike ever for the WGA occurred over 154 days in 1988. Friday marks the 137th day of the current work stoppage, while SAG-AFTRA has been on strike as well since July 14.
As TheWrap previously reported, Noah Hawley, Kenya Barris and other A-list showrunners were demanding answers from WGA negotiating leadership, including chief negotiator Ellen Stutzman and committee co-chairs Chris Keyser and David A. Goodman. They had reportedly expressed concerns about whether the guild was motivated to get to a deal.
A previously scheduled meeting between the showrunners and the guild was canceled on Monday evening, although there was online discourse as to whether the guild or the showrunners canceled the sitdown. There has been some concern within the industry that the guild leadership was less concerned about making a deal and more inclined to hold the line to get its first ask.
“My friends are divided on what the latest resumption of talks means,” a high-level screenwriter told TheWrap. “It’s unclear as to whether it’s because they’re feeling pressure from showrunners, talk shows resuming or below-the-line unions getting stressed and angry.” Furthermore, they stated, “The fear is that it’s going to be a case of ‘See, we tried?’ and then nothing until early 2024.”
A rep from the WGA didn’t immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.