WGA Contract Talks in Recess Until End of Month

The WGA says the only remaining points of contention are options and exclusivity.

The Writers Guilds of America's contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are being put on hold until March 31, the WGA told its members Thursday.

Almost every aspect of the contract has been agreed upon, except for options and exclusivity, according to a letter to members from Negotiating Committee Co-Chairs Chip Johannessen and Billy Ray and WGAW President Chris Keyser. The WGA says those two points need to be rethought because of the less predictable writing schedule of the current TV landscape.

"For over 50 years, writing for television operated on a predictable schedule. Staffs on dramatic primetime shows worked for 10 months to produce 22 episodes, then went on unpaid hiatus for two months before returning for the following season," reads the letter. "But with the advent of basic cable, pay TV and now Netflix-type Internet shows, that changed. Short orders of 13, 10 or even 8 episodes are now the norm, and the predictability of the old broadcast season has vanished. As you have told us in showrunner meetings and scores of show visits, these two developments -- short orders and uncertain schedules -- have combined to create a serious problem for many writers."

The letter says WGA and AMPTP will meet for an additional two days of negotiations to discuss options and exclusivity, with the meetings to take place March 31 and April 1. The talks began Feb. 3 at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and recessed for two weeks beginning in mid-February.

The AMPTP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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