Strike Talks With Studios End Saturday as SAG-AFTRA Weighs ‘Final’ Offer of ‘Full’ AI Protections, Comp Hikes

SAG-AFTRA and the major studios met Saturday for less than 2 hours and the guild is now reviewing what it says studios called their “best, last and final” offer to finally bring an end to the strike.

“We received an offer today from the AMPTP, which they characterized as their ‘Last, Best, and Final Offer,'” the guild negotiating committee said in a statement. “We are reviewing it and considering our response within the context of the critical issues addressed in our proposals.”

While full details about the plan haven’t been made public, an insider with knowledge of today’s talks told TheWrap they include “full” protections regarding the use of so-called AI technology, as well as a 100% hike in compensation on high budget streaming productions, for both episodic television and feature films.

According to the insider, the offer also includes what the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) is describing as the biggest hike in overall compensation since 1983.

It’s not clear if the offer under review Saturday is the same one made during Friday’s round of talks, or if it is an amended proposal.

Befitting the seriousness of the situation, the meeting, conducted over zoom, included a larger-than-normal contingent of top Hollywood executives. This included the big 4 who have been most involved with talks — Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos, Disney CEO Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav and NBCUni’s Donna Langley as well as top executives from Paramount, Sony and Apple.

In late October, insiders told TheWrap that AMPTP leaders, spurred on by the CEOs of some of Hollywood’s biggest studios, was considering a return to hardball tactics. Namely, quitting talks for a third time and refusing to return to the table until January if a deal can’t be reached by early November.

While no such ultimatum has been issued publicly, the fact that even SAG-AFTRA has confirmed the studio’s description of the deal as “final,” suggests that may come to pass if the new offer doesn’t meet the guild’s needs.

In this latest round, AMPTP hasn’t publicly issued any ultimatums, but insiders told TheWrap in mid-October that the group is considering a return to hardball tactics — which would among other things include walking away from negotiations until January — if a deal isn’t reached soon.

There is significant social and financial pressure on both sides to find a way out of the strike that has crippled Hollywood since May. Working actors in particular have been hard hit by the lack of work.

A decision to halt talks until the new year could therefore be catastrophic for the industry. Among other things, it would moot the 2023-24 season of scripted television entirely, and likely gut the 2024 movie release schedule too.

Unsurprisingly, there have been some cracks in guild solidarity. In October, notably a group of A-list actors led by George Clooney who attempted to broker a compromise that addressed precisely none of the guild’s concerns.

but overall, members have largely been united behind the strike. Most notably, an open letter published Oct. 26 that urged guild leaders not to “cave” for a “bad deal” was signed by more than 3600 members, among them some equally A-list stars.

According to Deadline, which first reported on the details of the offer, Sarandos told guild negotiators on Saturday, “We didn’t just come toward you, we came all the way to you.” It remains to be seen if SAG-AFTRA agrees.

Neither side has indicated when they’ll meet again.

The post Strike Talks With Studios End Saturday as SAG-AFTRA Weighs ‘Final’ Offer of ‘Full’ AI Protections, Comp Hikes appeared first on TheWrap.