Film and television scriptwriters voted overwhelmingly on Sunday night to return to work on Monday, ending a 22-week strike that cost the entertainment industry an estimated $125 million and brought production almost to a standstill.
The scriptwriters, members of the Writers Guild of America, meeting in Los Angeles and New York, voted by 2,111 to 412 that the 9,000 guild members should return to work, union president George Kirgo said.Studios, which had laid off hundreds of workers because of the strike, began making production plans Wednesday after the guild reached a tentative settlement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, representing the major studios and television networks.
The studios took for granted the guild membership would approve the settlement and allow Hollywood to go back to work.
Many scriptwriters had worked at home while on strike and studios said this meant there could be a big influx of films into cinemas next June.
The television networks pushed back the start of the autumn season by a month, until the second half of October, and film projects had been delayed or scrapped because of one of the longest strikes in Hollywood history.
Some of the best paid scriptwriters estimated the strike had cost them $100,000 each.
Under a new four-year contract, scriptwriters, who had previously been paid an average of $16,000 for a one-hour program, will receive 50 percent more for a hit when it goes into reruns overseas.
But the writers could also receive an increase of only 25 percent if the program was not a hit.
"The improvement in the foreign area is a good one, and something we will continue to build on in future contracts," guild spokeswoman Cheryl Rhoden said, referring to the main sticking point in the negotiations.
"The agreement is enormously better than the one offered by producers before the strike began," the guild's chief negotiator, Brian Walton, said.