Hollywood Writers End Strike

LOS ANGELES The Hollywood writers’ strike is over.

In balloting conducted Tuesday at single sites in Beverly Hills, Calif., and New York, Writers Guild of America members voted overwhelmingly to end their 100-day walkout.

Guild officials said 3,775 ballots were cast in person or by proxy, with 92.5 percent of votes cast in favor of ending the work stoppage. A total of 3,492 cast “yes” ballots, and only 283 voted against ending the strike.

“Our membership has voted, and writers can go back to work,” WGA West president Patric Verrone said at a Tuesday night news conference. “This was not a strike we wanted but one we had to conduct in order to win jurisdiction and establish appropriate residuals for writing in new media and on the Internet. Those advances now give us a foothold in the digital age.

“Rather than being shut out of the future of content creation and delivery, writers will lead the way as TV migrates to the Internet and platforms for new media are developed,” he said.

WGA East president Michael Winship said, “The success of this strike is a significant achievement, not only for ourselves but the entire creative community, now and in the future.”

Officials also sent members e-mails explaining their obligation to return to jobs.

“If you were employed when the strike began, you should plan to report to work on Wednesday,” Winship wrote. “If you’re not employed at an office or other work site, call or e-mail your employer that you are resuming work. If you have been told not to report to work or resume your services, we recommend that you still notify your employer in writing of your availability to do so.”

The bicoastal voting followed Saturday’s announcement of a tentative three-year contract, granting annual pay raises of 3-3.5 percent and historic gains in residuals for new-media content. The WGAW board and WGAE council could have ended the strike without the votes, but guild leaders said they wanted to give members a direct voice in that decision.

A feel-good vibe continued to ripple throughout Hollywood in anticipation of a return to work after months of inactivity on TV show sets and significant disruption in filmmaking.

CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves confided to sorting through “so many emotions” as the protracted labor strife wound to a halt.

“There is right now a great sense of relief and a feeling that we’re putting the community back together,” he said. “And that’s a great feeling.”

Moonves said the strike was disruptive for his company but not overly damaging.

Actual productions, with actors on the set, won’t get under way for a couple of weeks. But starting immediately, producers of shows on all the broadcast networks will have scribes starting to scratch out scripts for new episodes on scores of shows.

The new episodes then will go before the cameras during the next month. Sitcoms will need less prep time than dramas, on average.

Gail Schiller contributed to this report.

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