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Decoding the Writers Strike Smoke Signals

Are WGA president Meredith Stiehm and guild leadership strategically trying to run up against the contract deadline?
Are WGA president Meredith Stiehm and guild leadership strategically trying to run up against the contract deadline? Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images for WGAW
Jonathan Handel
April 2, 2023

What sake pairs best with Kabuki theater? That’s the question I’m asking as the Writers Guild and studios finish a second week of negotiations ahead of their May 1 contract expiration. No, this isn’t a backdoor attempt to inaugurate Puck’s Wine & Spirits vertical—although why not?—but rather to say that if you think the WGA and studio alliance have spent the last ten business days cooperatively working through the tough issues with sleeves rolled up, you definitely need a drink. Or several.

A Friday media report suggested that “the two parties are closer than expected on a number of key issues” and that an additional, previously unplanned bargaining session may take place this Tuesday. I’ve confirmed the extra session, but what that actually portends isn’t necessarily clear. A well-informed and impartial source, albeit from outside the room, tells me that the report’s spin was “nonsense” and the alleged movement is a “charade.”