The Official End-of-Summer Strike Report

Fran Drescher has ceded some of the spotlight to chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who comes across as firm and determined but not ferocious.
Fran Drescher has ceded some of the spotlight to chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who comes across as firm and determined but not ferocious. Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Matt Belloni: Here we are, Labor Day, and we’re entering Month Four of the strikes. I hate to say I’m not surprised, but I never thought there would be real movement until September. I am surprised, however, that the studios seem to be at a stalemate with the WGA and that they aren’t even talking to SAG-AFTRA.

Jonathan Handel: I can’t say I’m surprised, either—but I am disappointed that the C.E.O.s didn’t get involved until more than 100 days had elapsed. That’s key, because lead AMPTP negotiator Carol Lombardini and the company labor V.P.s are primarily empowered to say “No”—which Chris Keyser and the WGA negotiating committee knew, of course. The C.E.O.s have either learned nothing from the past or, more likely, thought the delay would wear down the writers’ resolve. Which also means they’ve learned nothing, since we saw recently how determined the writers were in their lengthy campaign against the talent agencies. And most actors are used to going months without work.