Easy? Fast? Surely You Jest.

I write this with the disclaimer that, frankly, I’m hurting.  I’m at a loss for words, and my doctors simply aren’t the immediately responsive types, but migraines are really starting to impact me, and the fact that it’s Yom Kippur isn’t helping.  Sorry to say for all of you medical experts that it is most definitely NOT long COVID, though I’m certain more than a few of you wish it might be. I seem to be in the minority that have reactions to Nurtec, whicb is fast becoming the Ozembic of pain meds (thank you, Mother Monster), and that was enough to send me home from Kol Nidre with the rabbi’s blessing.

So I missed out on this thoroughly unexpected coda to Hot Strike Summer, at least from the WGA side.  By the time I finally recovered enough to check the dozens of alerts and e-mails I had received while I was passed out from pain, the victory laps, happy dances and Howie Mandel memes were ubiquitous, as best summed up by DEADLINE’s David Robb:

The Writers Guild has reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to end its strike after nearly five months. The parties finalized the framework of the deal Sunday when they were able to untangle their stalemate over AI and writing room staffing levels. 

“The WGA and AMPTP have reached a tentative agreement,” the WGA and the AMPTP said in a joint statement this evening.

“We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language,” the WGA told its members in a release, which came just after sunset and the start of the Yom Kippur holiday that many had seen deadline to wrap up deal after five days of long negotiations.

The full statement was provided by STRIKEGEIST’s Elaine Low, in stark contrast to the observation she made which was one of the few things that was able to put a smile upon my face last night:

Less than an hour after the WGA released its memo, the guild and studios issued a very brief joint statement through the AMPTP’s recently hired crisis PR firm, The Levinson Group:

“The WGA and AMPTPT [sic] have reached a tentative agreement.”

Yep, money well spent, gents (and lady).

Specific details are sparse for the moment; for one thing, as the more hard-line WGA members in my social media feeds insisted, there is still the process of going over this with a fine-toothed comb, which I suspect those not fasting will begin today so that by the time sundown hits and people get food in their gullets will accelerate.  So much the better, as now the trade narrative has already progressed to the Captain Obvious points which THE WRAP’s Andi Ortiz and Ross A. Lincoln postulated last night:

So, how soon will your favorite shows be back on your screens? When will your most anticipated films head back into production?

The short answer: As soon as possible. WGA members have consistently said they’re eager to get back into the writers rooms, and the studios, represented in guild negotiations by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, have taken a heavy financial hit during the strike and need to restart production urgently to reverse it.

Once they have the contract, guild leaders will send it to members for a ratification vote. The guild hasn’t provided a timeline for that particular vote yet, but it will need to provide enough time for members to review the contract before casting votes.

That said, guild leaders could decide to lift the restraining order and end the strike at a certain date and time, currently to be determined, pending ratification. Per the WGA, this would allow writers to return to work during the ratification vote, but would not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval. 

Once the WGA deal is ratified, some shows will be able to start sooner than others — namely, talk shows and variety productions like “Saturday Night Live.” At the end of August, “SNL” director Liz Patrick told TheWrap her hope is that the sketch series can be a “light switch” production.

“I don’t want to speak as the voice of ‘SNL,’ but I will say, from my perspective of it all, as soon as the strikes are resolved, I think we are the type of show that literally, if we know by Monday or Tuesday… we just turn the lights on and we go,” she said at the time.

I do find it mildly intriguing that all of this progress miraculously occurred during the first days of autumn, just before the premiere of what used to be the traditional Fall season, and just as David Young’s name resurfaced as the wizard behind the curtain.  So I did guffaw when the Deadline piece made this reference:

Next steps in process will see the Ellen Stutzman-led WGA negotiating committee vote on “whether to recommend the agreement and send it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval” in votes tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, the guild said tonight.

Ellen, with all due respect, between you and the AMPTP’s crisis management SWAT team, couldn’t we have gotten to this point at some earlier point?

We chronicled what Young was able to do, or at least took credit for, during the 2007-08 strike, which will still hold the record for the longest ever should logic prevail as predicted.  We are now acutely aware that he’s not a writer, but a negotiator, and one who, we suspect, indeed squeezed the balls of Zas, Ted and AIger as he insisted (can’t say what he extracted from Donna).

So now, as the reality sets in, of the clock that, just like Mona Lisa Vito’s biological one is TICKING LIKE DIS, I would humbly advise my fellow Flushing-ite’s master negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland to step aside and let Mr. Wonderful get the SAG-AFTRA folks in line.  Love you all dearly, but your sworn enemies are intimately aware that they can attract large audiences without you, and by the time people do get back to the tables tomorrow morning another Sunday night of YELLOWSTONE rerun ratings will be in.  And for those who point to this weekend’s record low box office as proof that the other side of the business has cratered, may I please remind you that the top new release was EXPENDABLES 4.  So, please, spare me.

If that sounds a tad bitter, well, I’ll own that, with a little nod to my migraines.   For that, I offer you the same I was offered by those who also observe Yom Kippur, which we particularly throw out as we chant the Unatokeh Tokef tonight–the prayer where observers ask to be inscribed in the Book of Life for another year.  Given how much debt and disappointment, let alone ghosting, I’ve endured in the past year, I’d really like to believe that I somehow get the chance for it, despite what I’m certain more than a few would otherwise desire.  If I’m mistaken, perhaps they can take their own look at this.

And as for Mr. Young, once you get through with SAG-AFTRA, I’d further urge you to make a pit stop in Detroit, if only to save Joe Biden from the entrapment of stepping onto a picket line that will be mocked mercilessly rather than hold private meetings to figure out, like Solomon, a positive number between 21 and 40 per cent that the UAW can live with.  And then, head to Washington, and have Kevin McCarthy’s enablers bound and gagged (they might enjoy it) and perhaps save the government from shutting down.  ‘Cuz all of this progress toward the end of Hot Strike Summer might be undone if, say, Social Security benefits are withheld?

OK, the over-the-counter standbys are finally starting to kick in, and the pounding in my brain is dissipating for the moment.  I’ve got a long day of prayer ahead of me, and, trust me, more than ever, I could use a little help.  Remember, the end of the month is approaching too.  So those of you who regularly read this kinda know what that means–yep, that link at the bottom.  Please, if possible, at least click on it and amplify?

In the meantime, I’ll be praying for you, your loved ones, every SINGLE member of WGA and SAG-AFTRA and yes, even for David Young and the Fab Four of the AMPTP negotiating team.  And their balls.

Until next time…


Fundraiser by Steven Leblang : Steve Leblang (gofundme.com)


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