SAG-AFTRA negotiators approved a tentative agreement that will end the longest actor strike against film and TV studios in Hollywood history.
In an announcement Wednesday, the union said the strike will officially end at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
The union’s negotiating committee unanimously approved the agreement. The deal will go to the SAG-AFTRA national board for approval on Friday.
The two sides have spent the last few days putting the finishing touches to a deal that will see actors protected against artificial intelligence for the first time and deliver a historic pay increase. Full details are expected to be announced after the national board vote on Friday.
As the deal neared the finish line, artificial intelligence remained one of the most complex problems to solve. The union’s chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, met with Carol Lombardini, CEO of the Motion Picture and Television Producers Guild, via Zoom on Wednesday to work out the final details.
One physical appereance On CNBC on Wednesday, Disney CEO Bob Iger said he was “optimistic” a deal would be reached soon. He warned that the financial impact of the strike had been “negligible” so far but could be more severe if an agreement was not reached quickly.
“Obviously we want to try to preserve a summer movie,” Iger said. “The whole industry is focused on this. We don’t have much time to do this.”
AMPTP rolled out its “last, best and last” offer on Friday, which includes an increased bonus for players appearing on the most-watched broadcast programs. The proposal did not include a key union priority, such as sharing revenue from each streaming platform.
SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee spent 12 hours Sunday preparing its response. As of Monday, the union said differences remained on “a few key items.” AMPTP changed the AI language at a meeting Monday night, leading to a 10-hour SAG-AFTRA committee meeting on Tuesday.
The committee reconvened Wednesday morning to continue its deliberations.
Union members would still need to vote to approve a deal; This process will likely take at least a week or longer. But the strike has already been called off, meaning players can return to work on Thursday.
Talks resumed on October 24 after a two-week break. Since then, continuous negotiations have been ongoing as the parties try to reach an agreement.
Negotiations are generally left to the staff of the Motion Picture and Television Producers Guild, which negotiates on behalf of the major studios. But four CEOs — NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav and Disney’s Iger — have been in a hands-on role over the past six weeks.
The CEOs first met with leaders of the Writers Guild of America in late September to seal that deal, and then met multiple times with SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher and the union’s chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. effort to end the crippling strike.
Most TV and film production has been shut down since writers went on strike six months ago. The actors’ union joined them on the picket line in mid-July, shutting down all but a relatively small number of independent film productions.
Over the past few weeks, some A-list actors have become increasingly uneasy over the lack of a deal. In an interview on “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday, Tyler Perry implicitly called for the union to declare victory.
“It’s really important to know when we’re winning,” he said.
The studios have warned that if a tentative agreement is not reached soon, the 2023-24 TV season will be lost and next summer’s theater season will also be disrupted.
Before this year, the longest actor strike against television and film companies lasted 95 days in 1980. The 2023 strike eclipsed this figure on October 17.