Studios to suspend writers’ contracts amid strike – Variety

Amazon, HBO, Warner Bros. TV and other major striking studios are putting some first-look and overall contracts on hold amid the writers’ strike.

Sources close to the situation said Variety Amazon will send letters to those affected on Monday. The studio has some carveouts for creatives who provide creative services but don’t write.

HBO is said to be making calls to alert individuals, but formal letters have yet to be sent.

On May 2, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) called a strike after failing to sign a new contract with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Pickets quickly followed in New York City, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, and many productions were closed due to the strike.

While the news of the wholesale suspension of deals is somewhat cautious, it is by no means unexpected. According to multiple company sources spoken to Variety, they and their customers have been preparing for this scenario since strike talk intensified. Contracts for such contracts clearly state that by participating in “labor action” such as a strike, the studio is allowed to suspend a contract and withhold payments.

One thing the agents emphasized is that no one is talking about terminating the contracts outright at this time. Such a move would be very drastic and would only happen if the strike lasted for a long period of time. A move like this would presumably allow studios to cut expensive deals with big-name producers who don’t produce much content, but again, that could happen weeks or months down the road.

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