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Writers Guild and studios set to resume negotiations on Friday


By Jon Passantino and Ramishah Maruf, CNN

New York (CNN) — The Writers Guild of America and Hollywood studios have agreed to meet on Friday to resume negotiations for the first time since the writers went on strike in a landmark labor action that has crippled the entertainment industry for more than 100 days.

In a message to members on Thursday, the WGA said Carol Lombardini, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, asked the WGA Negotiating Committee to meet with its negotiators on Friday.

“We expect the AMPTP to provide responses to WGA proposals,” the WGA wrote in a statement to its members. The AMPTP said it would not comment on the upcoming meeting.

“Our committee returns to the bargaining table ready to make a fair deal, knowing the unified WGA membership stands behind us and buoyed by the ongoing support of our union allies,” the guild said.

The meeting approaches as Hollywood passes the 100-day milestone of a virtual standstill, decimating finances for not only the writers, but the many different types of workers involved in industry productions. The strike will push back fall television premieres and late night television shows haven’t aired new episodes since May.

The current standoff has already surpassed the bitter 2007-08 strike, which disrupted much of Hollywood. The longest writers’ strike on record stretched for 154 days in 1988.

Both sides still remain far apart on key issues, including pay, residuals, mandatory staffing, and other employment concerns.

Adding to the stoppage, SAG-AFTRA, which represents 160,000 actors, also went on strike last month.

Friday’s gathering is only the second known meeting between both parties since the strike began in May. The first meeting was on August 4, but the sides did not reach a deal to resume bargaining, dashing hopes for an end to the picket lines.

In fact, it seemed to do the opposite. In an August 4 statement, the WGA claimed AMPTP leaked parts of their confidential meeting to the press.

“Our intention after the confidential meeting was to send a simple email to you all letting you know we would get back to you when there was more specific information about resuming negotiations,” the WGA statement said.

AMPTP did not comment to CNN about these leak allegations.

While the two sides have been far apart for months, recent comments from studio executives suggest there may finally be a thawing in the frozen relations.

“I think people are hopeful. Everyone wants to see a resolution to the strikes,” a studio executive told CNN last week. “And if the parties can sit down and forge a path to a deal, that benefits everyone. No one wants this strike to go on.”

On Wednesday, Disney chief executive Bob Iger addressed the standoff during the entertainment giant’s quarterly earnings call, offering an olive branch to striking writers and actors.

“It is my fervent hope that we quickly find solutions to the issues that have kept us apart these past few months,” Iger said. “And I am personally committed to working to achieve this result.”

– CNN’s Chris Isidore contributed to this report

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