EXCLUSIVE: SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said it on the picket lines earlier today, and now it seems that “cautious optimism,” as an insider also stated, has become the takeaway term Thursday for the state of talks between the guild and the studios.
In that vein, SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP have agreed to meet again on Friday, October 27, we hear. Today’s negotiations have ended after almost five hours.
With no direct talks yesterday, the gist of Wednesday’s deliberations was SAG-AFTRA’s response to the AMPTP’s most recent offer of October 24 of increased bonuses based on the success of streaming shows and movies and a rise in minimum rates. Using their hard fought deal with the Writers Guild as a baseline, the studios had put forth a 7% increase in minimums. It is understood the guild, who have been discussing an 11% rise, recognized the tactical heft of the move and offered a compromise that lessened the gap between the two.
Having “evolved,” as one guild source put it, their revenue sharing demand, the ideas the guild countered with Thursday are “something we can work with,” according to a studio source.
That could be a good-ish sign as SAG-AFTRA has been on strike for 105 days now. With production at a standstill because of the labor actions by the guild and the now settled WGA, and small screen and big screen schedules for 2024 looking shaky, the summer of Hollywood strikes had cost the economy of Southern California an estimated $6.5 billion and the loss of 45,000 jobs.
However, not wanting to put the cart before the horse, another studio source tells Deadline that “nothing was resolved” today in the room.
Still, having taken a step back from scheduled deliberations on October 25 “to do a deep review” of the new AMPTP proposal, president Fran Drescher, Crabtree-Ireland and other guild leadership were back at the bargaining table Thursday for the second day of this latest round of talks. As was the case with the final days of WGA talks and SAG-AFTRA negotiations earlier this month and on October 24, they were joined by Disney’s Bob Iger, NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, plus AMPTP president Carol Lombardini.
With that noted, and the return of the doom and gloom chorus from sidelined industry doyens, today’s meeting between the CEOs and the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee did get off to a bit of a later than usual start. With the gathering at the actors guild’s Wilshire Blvd offices not kicking off until around noon to sync up everyone’s schedules, SAG-AFTRA’s Crabtree-Ireland took the opportunity to jump out on to the picket line at Paramount this morning. Stating that he was “cautiously optimistic,” the guild chief negotiator also told Deadline Thursday “we’re 100% focused on making a fair deal at the table.”
Looks like everyone that matters in seeing this strike end is going to be at that table, at least for one more day.
Carol Dennis is an entertainment aficionado with an eye for all things pop culture. She dives into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, from movie premieres to music festivals. Carol’s passion for storytelling extends beyond her reporting, as she’s an aspiring screenwriter in her free time.