Optimism emerges among Hollywood writers over talks with studios

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After three months of walking the picket lines, striking Hollywood writers expressed optimism about the reopening of contract talks with major studios and the possibility they could be back at work in weeks.

Details of the latest proposal from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the trade group representing Walt Disney, Netflix and other major studios and streamers, remain shrouded in secrecy. Still, members of the Writers Guild of America see reason for hope.

"I'm feeling cautiously optimistic. I was here for the 2007-8 strike and talking can go very slowly, talking can break down or talking, if they come with a real deal, can go pretty quickly," Flashpoint writer Pam Davis told Reuters outside Amazon Studios in Culver City.

"So, I'm kind of in the camp where I think we're gonna be back to work in September," she added. "But if we're not, we're okay with that. If it's not the right deal, we're not going to take it."

Writers went on strike on May 2 over an impasse on compensation, minimum staffing in writers' rooms, residual payments and curbs on artificial intelligence. They were joined on the picket lines on July 14 by members of the Screen Actors Guild, effectively halting much of US film and scripted television production.

In what would be a sign of progress in a months-long labor dispute, negotiators for the WGA and AMPTP met on Tuesday to discuss the latest contract proposal, more than 100 days into the strike.

"They're talking again when they weren't a couple of weeks ago," said WGA liaison and Physical writer K.C. Scott. "That's what I'm holding onto."

Scott added that while he doesn't know what AMPTP offered the guild, the WGA is preparing a counteroffer that he trusts will be in the best interest of the writers.

While Law and Order writer and WGA liaison Terri Kopp is also upbeat about talks with studios continuing, she is concerned about information leaking from their confidential negotiating sessions.

"It makes us suspicious because the leaks are designed to make them (the studios) look good and the WGA look bad," Kopp said. "I think there's a possibility they're trying to get our hopes up and then pull the football out like Lucy."

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