Striking writers prepared to return to work after the Writers Guild of America reached a deal with Hollywood studios that would increase pay for content shown on the Internet. If members of the union will vote Tuesday to end their three-and-a-half-month strike, they could return to work as soon as Wednesday, and new episodes of network TV programs could be on the air by early spring. (The Washington Post, free registration)
What the commentators
“Was it worth it?” said Scott Collins in the Los Angeles Times (free registation). After all, the strike shut down the TV industry and damaged the movie business, “putting tens of thousands of people out of work as recession clouds darken on the horizon.” But, in a word, yes, guild officials were justified in sticking to their guns to negotiate this deal, which got the writers the best deal they could hope for, even if it’s “not a historic win for labor.”
The writers certainly got something out of this mess, said Oliver Jones in People.com. “Staggered by the cancellation of the Golden Globes and fearful that the same fate could befall next months Oscars, Hollywood producers have agreed to give striking writers a piece of the profit that their work might make over the Internet.” But that doesn't mean Hollywood's labor problems are over. The Screen Actors Guild, which provided crucial support for the writers, is about to start negotiating its own contract, so another strike could be around the corner.
“It is not quite peace that has broken out here in Hollywood,” said Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes in The New York Times (free registration), but the writers’ truce with the studios should make an actors’ strike less likely. “With writers pointed back to work and directors having settled their new contract weeks ago, the actors would stand alone if they pressed for gains larger than those just achieved by their colleagues, especially in the contentious area of new media.”