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Hollywood Avoids Strike After Reaching Tentative Deal With Writers Guild

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Film and television fans everywhere breathed a small sigh of relief on Tuesday after the Writers Guild of America, a trade union representing television and movie writers, reached a tentative deal for a new film and TV contract with major studios.

According to the Los Angeles Times, negotiations came down to the wire, with the new deal providing for gains in minimum pay as well increases in contributions to the union’s health plan. The deal also a 15% increase in pay-TV residuals, job protection for paternity leave and residuals for comedy-variety writers who work in pay TV, the Times said.

“We didn't get everything we wanted and they didn't get everything they wanted, which is usually the result of a successful negotiation. We made real and substantial gains for writers in a number of areas,” one person close to the talks who requested anonymity, told the Times.

The agreement comes after weeks of close negotiations that covered dramatic changes in the industry, including an increased focus on health costs and technological shifts such as the increasing importance of streaming.

Streaming, in particular, has been a challenge for writers, leading to shorter television seasons and reduced earnings for writers even as the television industry enjoys booming business.

The Guild had been prepared to strike as of May 1st if a deal hadn't been struck, the Times reported. The last writer's strike took place over 13 weeks at the end of 2007 and the start of 2008. The walkout resulted in thousands of layoffs and resulted in shutdowns for virtually all scripted television shows, with major networks reporting viewership drops of as much as 11% over the 100 day period. – Staff Writers