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Following the resolution of the Hollywood writers’ strike, actors are now set to initiate their negotiations with studios and streaming services. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (SAG-AFTRA) announced the resumption of strike negotiations with studios, scheduled for Monday. Studio executives will participate, similar to the marathon sessions that contributed to ending the writers’ strike.

Late-Night Hosts Return to the Air

Monday will also mark the return of network late-night hosts to the air. Bill Maher was a frontrunner, announcing that his HBO show, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” would resume on Friday. Subsequently, hosts from NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and CBS’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” announced their return by Monday. “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver is set to return on Sunday.

“The Daily Show,” which had utilized guest hosts during the strike, is planning to return on October 16 with a lineup of guest hosts for the remainder of 2023. Plans for “Saturday Night Live” remain undisclosed.

Strikes’ Impact on Late-Night Television

The strikes have significantly impacted late-night television viewership. Research firm Samba TV describes the situation as “catastrophic.” The absence of fresh, topical content from hosts like Colbert, Fallon, and Kimmel has resulted in late-night viewership declining by 40% to 50%, according to Ashwin Navin, Samba TV co-founder. The return of late-night to its prior relevance remains uncertain.

Fallon, Meyers, Kimmel, Colbert, and Oliver collaborated on the popular podcast “Strike Force Five” during the strike, with proceeds benefiting their out-of-work writers. They recently announced the completion of their mission on Instagram.

Impact on Scripted Shows and Solution Signs

Resumption of scripted shows will take longer due to the ongoing actors’ strike, which only recently showed signs of a potential solution. Before the renewed negotiation plans, there had been no official contact between SAG-AFTRA and the alliance of studios since the strike’s commencement on July 14.

The first talks during the writers’ strike last month yielded poor results, and negotiations only resumed a month later. However, when negotiations restarted last week, a deal was reached within five days. On Tuesday night, board members from the writers union approved the contract agreement with studios.

Key Wins in Writers’ Strike Agreement

The three-year agreement reached with studios, producers, and streaming services marks a significant victory for writers. It addresses key issues the writers had been fighting for, including compensation, length of employment, staff size, and control of artificial intelligence. The raises in pay and future residual earnings range from 3.5% to 5%, exceeding the studios’ initial offer.

The guild also successfully negotiated new residual payments tied to the popularity of streaming shows. Writers will receive bonuses for contributing to the most popular shows on platforms like Netflix and HBO Max, a proposal initially rejected by studios.

In terms of artificial intelligence, writers have achieved regulation and control of the emerging technology. Under the contract, AI-generated storylines will not be considered “literary material” or “source” material in the writers’ contractual language. Writers retain the right to use artificial intelligence in their work, with company agreement and other specified conditions, but companies cannot mandate its use.