Hollywood writers’ guild deadline passes; no word on deal

Posted at 3:58 AM, May 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-02 03:58:11-04

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The contract for television and film writers has expired without an indication of whether a strike is imminent that could send some popular TV shows into immediate reruns.

The Writers Guild of America and producers have been negotiating since March 13, with health care and compensation at the center of the on-and-off contract talks. The current deal expired at just after midnight Tuesday.

Guild members voted overwhelmingly last month to authorize a strike, and the WGA could call for an immediate walkout Tuesday. But no official communication came from either side indicating the next move.

The two sides have held to a media blackout during negotiations and declined to provide updates on how far apart they are.

The previous writers’ strike in 2007-08 lasted 100 days and cost California’s economy an estimated $2 billion. It immediately sent late-night talk shows into reruns and gradually took a wider toll on TV sitcoms and dramas and movie production.

That strike garnered support from other segments of the entertainment industry, including actors who joined picket lines and lent other help to the writers.

Writer-actress Lena Dunham said she would back a strike this time.

“I would never have had the health coverage I had without the union, and that’s one of the main points in this,” Dunham said at the Met Gala on Monday night.

Actress Debra Winger said she would support any reasonable job action by the writers, but was mindful of the damage it would cause.

“I’m thinking of all the businesses that I work with at Warner Bros. for several months out of the year and (the) restaurants, shoe repair, dry cleaners,” Winger said during an interview promoting her new film, “The Lovers.” ”The last writers’ strike affected the city of Los Angeles in a devastating way.”

At the Met Gala, CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves said he was guardedly optimistic that a deal would be reached without a strike.