As Studios Finally Agree to Meet with WGA, Top Showrunners Stand Aside

A scheduled Friday meeting between WGA leadership and a group of top showrunners led by Kenya Barris, Noah Hawley, and Sam Esmail has been postponed, according to multiple media reports.

The group of multi-hyphenate WGA members were meant to privately met with leadership from the Writers Guild Negotiating Committee, including co-chairs David A. Goodman and Chris Keyser, to discuss the latest progress in talks with the studios and where negotiations stand. But with the WGA and AMPTP mutually announcing Thursday that negotiations will resume at some point next week, that showrunner conversation has been put on hold.

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The purpose of the meeting was for the top showrunners to start a dialogue and express concerns with the strike on its 137th day. Scheduling the meeting has been on and off for the better part of a week as rumors have run rampant about the meeting’s purpose. But as sources previously told IndieWire, it’s not the same situation faced during the 2007-08 strike when an organized group of dissenters tried to go around the guild.

The writers strike is approaching the longest in the guild’s history. Projections from the studios and other pundits that the strike would be over by early September have come and gone. Writers are privately discussing the impact of the work stoppage, with even top showrunners feeling the pinch as studios suspend overall deals that paid for staffs and overhead.

Negotiations between the AMPTP and WGA appeared to stall for several weeks, with each side seeming to wait for the other to offer a response or make the next move. According to the WGA, the AMPTP made its one and only offer August 11, the WGA countered on Aug. 15, and WGA met top industry CEOs on August 22. According to the AMPTP timeline, it offered further compromises August 18 and waited for a response from the WGA. The AMPTP now says that response came from the WGA on Wednesday.

The impasse gave rise to rumblings that the AMPTP would shift its focus to SAG-AFTRA negotiations. However, lead SAG negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland suggested to IndieWire’s Anne Thompson last week that hasn’t been the case.

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