California Today: California Today: Down to the Wire in Hollywood


Film and television writers picketed outside Paramount Studios in Los Angeles in 2008. Credit Kevork Djansezian/Associated Press

Good morning.

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It’s do-or-die time in Hollywood.

If the writers’ union doesn’t reach a deal with the studios by midnight tonight, its thousands of members are expected to strike.

It would be the entertainment capital’s first major work stoppage in a decade.

What’s the disagreement?

A three-year contract between the Writers Guild of America, whose members create the scripts for television and film, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, is set to expire May 1.

In talks on a new contract, the union has demanded raises, a new pay structure that reflects the shift toward streaming services, and bigger payments for the guild’s health plan.

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A sticking point has been over what concessions the union would make on the health plan, which has run into deficits in part because it provides extremely generous benefits.

What does it mean for my shows?

A strike won’t cause entertainment to screech to a halt.

Many scripted shows poised to air in the near term are already in the can. Movies that operate on yearslong production schedules also wouldn’t feel much immediate pain.

But television programs that rely on a regular diet of fresh writing could be forced to air reruns. That means soap operas, late-night staples such as “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and weekly programs like “Saturday Night Live.”

What else is at stake?

If a strike were to drag on, workers who cater to Hollywood would suffer.

During the last writers’ strike in 2007 and 2008, thousands of people who work on sets — lighting technicians, makeup artists and others — were forced out of work.

Businesses such as catering and construction also had their bottom lines hurt.

All told, the 100-day shutdown cost the California economy more than $2 billion, according to the Milken Institute, a public policy think tank.

What are the odds of a strike?

It’s hard to say.

On Friday, the Times journalists John Koblin and Brooks Barnes cited people close to the talks who said headway had been made between the two sides. But for the moment, a pact remained uncertain.

What’s more, extensions are common in labor negotiations. If both sides believe they’re close to a deal, they could extend the talks.

To find out which way it goes, follow Mr. Barnes on Twitter.

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California Online

(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)


Shelley Zimmerman, the San Diego police chief, spoke at the apartment building where a mass shooting unfolded on Sunday. Credit Gregory Bull/Associated Press

• A mass shooting at a San Diego apartment complex left one person dead and several others injured. Police officers later shot and killed the gunman. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

• A jail complex in Los Angeles is home to about 4,000 inmates with mental illness. [The Associated Press]

• An array of Democratic leaders have started eyeing potential bids for the White House. Senator Kamala Harris has been mentioned. [The New York Times]


“I don’t know who to believe or what is safe to do to protect myself,” said Yanet, who stepped forward to file a sexual abuse case years ago but is having second thoughts about continuing to pursue it. Credit Megan Miller for The New York Times

Reports of abuse among Latinos has fallen in Los Angeles. The fear: Deportation. [The New York Times]

Cannabis oil helps calm the seizures of a 3-year-old with a severe form of epilepsy. But school marijuana policies are creating roadblocks. [San Francisco Chronicle]

• “Her hamstring was gone.” A woman was attacked by a shark at San Onofre State Beach. [Orange County Register]

A hacker leaked the coming season of Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” and threatened other networks. [The New York Times]


Dick Contino performing in 1948. Credit NBC, via Photofest

Dick Contino died at 87. The Fresno-born accordion player became an unlikely heartthrob in the 1940s. [The New York Times]

• Forecasters said a hot spell this week would melt Sierra snow and cause the Merced River to flood. [The Associated Press]

• “The horror of the internment lay in the racial animus the government itself propagated,” wrote George Takei. [Opinion | The New York Times]

• The Jazz knocked the Clippers out of the playoffs and into an uncertain future. The Jazz now face the Warriors. [The New York Times]


A photograph by Gray Malin. Credit Gray Malin

Gray Malin’s photographs traffic in bright, aspirational escapism — and easy laughs. [The New York Times]

• A pair of middle-school teachers were first in line for “Hamilton” tickets in Los Angeles. They waited nearly 24 hours. [Los Angeles Times]

Coming Up This Week

• Apple will report earnings on Tuesday. Investors have been falling in love with the company again as expectations rise for new iPhones.

• Starting Tuesday, the eastern span of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge will open to bicyclists and pedestrians seven days a week.

• The three-day Steinbeck Festival opens Friday in Salinas, where the author was born. Speakers, screenings and exhibits will explore the theme of migration.

• There will be Cinco de Mayo celebrations on Friday in numerous cities, among them San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Rosa.

• The Planes of Fame Air Museum will host its annual air show in Chino this weekend. More than 40 historic aircraft will perform.

And Finally …

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Source: New York Times



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