A 48 hour vote has been called to let the membership view the terms and decide if the new contract should be ratified and put into action.
A source tells Media Morgue that while the contract is not perfect, the writers have gotten a few of the things they were looking for and this should be enough to have the majority agree.
The New York Times reports that the writers and production companies have reached a tentative deal:
The agreement would let writers claim to have bettered a similar deal achieved last month between the production companies and the Directors Guild of America. In the third year of the Writers Guild deal, writers will be paid a percentage of the distributor’s revenue rather than the flat fee for Web-streamed television shows granted to the directors. The writers had insisted on this issue to ensure they not lose out on any new-media windfall the studios and networks may get from Web video. The producers yielded on this point — and the directors did not push it —arguing that Internet distribution is unlikely to become a significant business during the length of these contracts.
Under the terms, production studios have a 17 day "window" where they can stream videos from established shows over the internet without having to pay residuals to the writers. For a new show, its 24 days. After the window, writers get a maximum fee of $1,200 for the programs.
This really isn't not much, especially when you consider the amount of revenue the networks are going to make if they blitz market that a show is available online. What you will see is that there will be a huge marketing campaign when the studios will be falling over themselves to advertise that a program is available online.
After 17 or 24 days, that marketing barrage will disappear. A burst of marketing hype, followed by the sound of crickets once the writers start getting their cut.
Still, the deal is better than what the writers had before the negotiations started.
In the works, writers have started prepping scripts and projects in anticipation of the strike finally ending. I don't know about the rest of them, but if it were me, I would have been spending my entire strike time working on my own projects that I can then turn around and sell to the content starved networks.
If the WGA agrees that the contract is enough to go back to work, this means that studios will start bringing projects back into action.
There is even talk that the recently-shelved "Justice League of America" project might get back to work. (which is good, considering the rumors that the first draft of the script was an abomination.)
We'll report back as soon as more news breaks on this. Subscribe to the Morgue feed to stay up to date.