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WBD chief Zaslav says Hollywood needs to ‘focus’ to resolve strikes

By Luciana Lopez, Oliver Darcy and Chris Isidore, CNN

(CNN) — Warner Bros. Discovery boss David Zaslav called for Hollywood to work together to end the writers and actors strikes, which have crippled Hollywood and which WBD this week said could cost the company as much as $500 million this year.

“We really have to focus as an industry, and we are, on trying to get this resolved in a way that’s really fair,” Zaslav told the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference on Wednesday.

As soon as the strikes are resolved, he said, “everybody is ready to get back to work, us in particular.”

Warner Bros. Discovery is CNN’s parent company.

The Writers Guild of America, which represents more than 11,000 writers working on movies and shows for the nation’s leading studios and streaming services, has been on strike since May 2. SAG-AFTRA, which represents about 160,000 actors, joined the writers on strike on July 14.

The strikes have ground much of Hollywood to a halt and have shined a spotlight on a system that rewards some actors and writers richly – but which, union members say, leaves others scrapping to survive, especially as streaming has changed the way those creative professions are compensated.

“We’re a content company, we’re a storytelling company. We need to do everything we can to get people back to work,” Zaslav said. More importantly, he added, “people need to be compensated fairly and they need to feel valued.”

On Tuesday, WBD trimmed its full-year earnings guidance for 2023 by $300 million to $500 million because of the strikes, a revision Zaslav referenced at the conference.

“In our guidance, we said that this would be resolved in September. And here we are in September. And this is really a very unusual event to have,” Zaslav said Wednesday. “The last time it happened was 1960. And so what we did is, we just said we are really going to fight to get this resolved.”

Unions have flexed their collective muscle this summer, with the Teamsters union negotiating a new contract with UPS under the looming threat of a strike. The United Auto Workers are now negotiating with GM, Ford and Stellantis as well, with UAW head Shawn Fain saying his members could walk out if a new contract doesn’t get settled by the September 14, 11:59pm deadline.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

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