Netflix and Disney reportedly step in to help end WGA strike, but writers aren't buying it

A group of writers picket outside Netflix's LA-based studio with placards and other signs
The WGA strike has been engaged in a bitter battle with the AMPTP for months. (Image credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Update: according to multiple outlets, including Deadline and CNN, a second round of talks were held yesterday (September 21), with the WGA, AMPTP, and various studio CEOs in attendance at the meeting.

Per the above reports, "significant" and "detailed" progress was made on the negotiations front but no deal was struck. Deadline also suggests a new three-year contract could be agreed within days, meaning the writers strike might be brought to an end in the near future.

However, Variety claims that, while the two sides will meet again on Friday to continue talks, Thursday's meeting "ended in tension", with WGA representatives adding new points to the deal. The WGA has also called on all union members to continue picketing amid discussions. In short: don't expect an imminent resolution to the long-running industrial action, which enters its 144th day today (September 22).

Original story follows.

After four and a half months, the writers' strike might finally be drawing to a close, meaning new TV shows and movies could be on the way soon. 

Well, if this latest round of speculation is to be believed. According to multiple news outlets, including The Hollywood Reporter (THR) and CNBC, the long-running dispute could be resolved today (Thursday, September 21). CEOs from the world's biggest studios are said to have attended a fresh round of talks between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP) to smooth out negotiations.

Those present reportedly included Netflix's Ted Sarandos, Disney's Bob Iger, and Warner Bros. Discovery's (WBD) David Zaslav, as well as NBCUniversal chairman Donna Langley. According to THR, it's highly unusual for the heads of the world's biggest entertainment firms to attend a bargaining session between the WGA and AMPTP. However, with the strike running into its 142nd day – at the time of writing – it's believed their unprecedented attendance is seen as a huge step in bringing the industrial action to an end.

Furthermore, a joint statement released by the WGA and AMPTP – a rare move, given the acrimony that's existed between the parties – lent more weight to the possibility of a deal being struck. Posting on X (formerly Twitter), the WGA stated that a fresh round of negotiations had taken place on Wednesday (September 20), with more set for the following day.

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What does this all mean for you? As long as a new deal is confirmed – most importantly, one that benefits WGA union members more than anyone else – new movies and TV shows to watch. 

Thus far, the world's best streaming services have had enough completed projects in the bank to continue releasing new films and series for us to watch. However, with talks continually breaking down between the WGA and AMPTP, the possibility of Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and more other platforms running out of new content was looking increasingly likely. 

Production on multiple big movies and shows was postponed in light of the writers' and actors' strikes, meaning no work has been carried out in the entire industry since the latter began in mid-July. Projects affected by the industrial action include Stranger Things season 5, Deadpool 3, Andor season 2, and Superman: Legacy.

There's the potential for both strikes to run for much longer, though. Despite the WGA and AMPTP's joint statement, plus reports that a deal is close, members of the WGA aren't buying claims that Netflix and company are ready to end the stand-off. A quick glance at X reveals that numerous writers are hesitant at best – and, at worst, furious – that the media aren't accurately portraying the full picture. Indeed, many frustrated observers have been left baffled by reports suggesting that, if the WGA doesn't agree to the alleged new deal on the table, studio heads will walk away and won't reopen talks until the start of 2024.

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Others have stated they'll only believe that a deal has been signed off on once the WGA confirms it has been. And, with WGA representatives holding out for a more beneficial deal, particularly in the era of streaming, for its members – including better pay and protections against being replaced by AI tools such as ChatGPT – there's no guarantee that a much improved contract is in the offing.

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It's unclear if we'll finally see some light at the end of this particularly dark tunnel in the immediate future, but it must be in all parties' best interests to get this sorted sooner rather than later.

For the world's most popular streamers, the lack of new shows and films will eventually bite hard. Netflix users have already canceled their subscriptions to stand in solidarity with the WGA, with the streaming giant delaying scores of new movies and TV series until the strikes are resolved. Hit Apple TV Plus series Severance has also been impacted, with the critically-acclaimed sci-fi show's second season on hold for the time being.

Marvel has pushed back the release dates of multiple shows, too, while the movie lineup for Marvel Phase 5 has also been heavily impacted by the industrial action, with numerous movies also delayed. However, some non-US-based shows were able to continue filming due to their lack of affiliation with the WGA. Unaffected priductions included The Rings of Power season 2 and House of the Dragon season 2, which largely employ UK actors.

We'll be keeping a close eye on developments today, so stick with TechRadar for an update on whether a deal is struck once we have some firm details.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

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