Lionsgate Suspends Writer and Producer Deals as Hollywood Strike Continues

As the Hollywood strike approaches day 140, Lionsgate is the latest outfit to suspend its writer and producer deals, TheWrap has learned.

The company will continue to pay assistants and development executives until at least Oct. 1, and they may opt to extend those payments as that date nears closer, an individual with knowledge of the matter told TheWrap.

According to Deadline, which first reported the suspensions, the move affects the studio’s deals with Paul Feig (Feigco Entertainment), Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum (The Tannenbaum Co.), Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly (Timberman/Beverly Productions), Michael London (Groundswell Productions) and Joseph Sikora, star of Starz’ “Power” Universe series “Power: Force.”

Lionsgate follows Apple, Warner Bros. TV, Disney Entertainment TV and NBC, all of whom have suspended various deals over the last several weeks.

The move comes ahead of resumed talks between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studio bosses in talks with the guilds.

“The WGA and AMPTP now have a confirmed schedule to bargain this week, starting on Wednesday,” the guild wrote in a memo to members on Monday. “You might not hear from us in the coming days while we are negotiating, but know that our focus is getting a fair deal for writers as soon as possible.”

The two groups formally resumed negotiations in mid-August, more than three months after WGA went on strike May 2. But those talks stalled after just 33 meetings after a tense discussion Aug. 22 between the guild and several studio CEOs, including Disney’s Bob Iger, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and Universal’s Donna Langley.

According to the WGA, the meeting was less a discussion than it was hectoring from the CEOs to accept the counteroffer made on Aug. 11 that the guild had already responded to with a counter of their own. Afterward, AMPTP released the details of that counteroffer, a move the WGA said amounted to a “bet that we will turn on each other.”

Communication ceased at that point, though negotiations weren’t formally called off, as WGA called on studios to make a counteroffer and AMPTP insisted it was the guild’s turn. Now talks resume as WGA and SAG-AFTRA, which joined the strike on July 13, remain unified enough that Drew Barrymore and Bill Maher were successfully pressured to reverse course after announcing they would begin producing new episodes of their respective talk shows.

For all of TheWrap’s WGA strike coverage, read here.

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