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Hollywood ending sees writers call off strike after last-minute deal

As the midnight deadline loomed on 1 May, the threat of a Hollywood writers’ strike was averted as a last-minute deal was announced.

According to Variety, an agreement was reached for a new three-year contract only two hours before the deadline. Emerging from the talks, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) released a joint statement the deal: “The Writers Guilds of America, West and East and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have concluded negotiations and have reached a tentative agreement on terms for a new three-year collective bargaining agreement.”

Details of the terms are not known, but former WGA president Patric Verrone, who was involved in the negotiations, told the Hollywood Reporter it was a “good deal” for writers.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, a number of unresolved issues remained during the final hours of haggling with studio representatives, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Issues included payments to shore up the Writers Guild of America (WGA) health plan and “wage parity”, a set payment minimum regardless of medium or budget.

At stake had been a contract across the TV and film industries that expires every three years, with the WGA aiming for a deal worth $535m (£415m) but studios offering $180m. The WGA called an authorisation ballot on 25 April that revealed more than 96% of voters had backed a strike.

The failure to reach a deal would have made industrial action inevitable, which would have had devastating consequences for the industry, such as TV shutdowns, film production delays and millions of dollars potentially lost. The most recent major Hollywood writers’ strike, between November 2007 and February 2008, cost the film and TV industry up to $2.5bn.