The Writers Guild of America (WGA) called off its nearly five-month strike on Tuesday night.
The union said its members could return to work on Wednesday as it moves to ratify a new three-year contract with Hollywood studios.
Leaders of the WGA "voted unanimously to lift the restraining order and end the strike as of 12:01 am PT/3:01 am ET on Wednesday, September 27th," it said in a statement.
The writers will still have to ratify the deal, but will now be permitted to work in the meantime. The WGA said its members have until October 9 to vote on the contract.
What is in the deal?
WGA leaders have called the deal "exceptional."
The deal with entertainment companies contained many of the WGA's demands, including more compensation on streaming content, increased health and pension contributions, and AI safeguards.
Those safeguards mean AI cannot be used to undermine a writer’s credit. While writers can choose to use AI when drafting scripts, a company will not be able to force them to use the software. The studios also must disclose to a writer if any materials were generated by AI.
Talk shows are expected to be the first to return to the air.
Nightly network shows such as NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" or ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" are expected to return to the air within days.
The WGA represents more than 11,000 screenwriters.
Actors remain on strike
Although screenwriters can return to work, members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (SAG-AFTRA) remain on strike, with no talks yet on the horizon.
"For a hot second, I really thought that this was going to go on until next year," said Marissa Cuevas, an actor who has appeared on the TV series "Kung Fu" and "The Big Bang Theory."
"Knowing that at least one of us has gotten a good deal gives a lot of hope that we will also get a good deal," she told the Associated Press from the picket line.
Writers were encouraged to stand with actors on the picket line in a show of solidarity, like "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner did on Tuesday.
"We would never have had the leverage we had if SAG had not gone out," Weiner told the Associated Press.
"They were very brave to do it."
zc/wmr (AP, Reuters)