Sesame Street Writers Reach Tentative Deal, Averting Strike

Sesame Street writers reach 5-year deal with Sesame Workshop, securing historic jurisdiction, AI protections, and improved residuals, ensuring the show's continued success.

author-image
Bijay Laxmi
Updated On
New Update
Sesame Street Writers Reach Tentative Deal, Averting Strike

Sesame Street Writers Reach Tentative Deal, Averting Strike

Sesame Street writers have reached a tentative five-year agreement with Sesame Workshop, the production company behind the beloved children's show, successfully averting a potential strike. The deal, which was unanimously supported by the 35 writers employed by the nonprofit organization, includes historic jurisdiction for the writers, AI protections, and improved residuals for the show's upcoming 56th season.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) confirmed the agreement, which secures provisions to cover writing for animated segments and social media content, as well as paid parental leave benefits and artificial intelligence protections. The contract was set to expire on Friday, and writers were prepared to begin picketing next week if an agreement had not been reached in time.

Sesame Workshop described the deal as an "industry benchmark" that recognizes the value of the writers' contributions to the organization's nonprofit mission of educating and enlightening children around the world. The new contract includes substantial improvements to social media residuals and establishes minimum rates for animated and social media content.

Why this matters: The agreement between Sesame Street writers and Sesame Workshop not only ensures the continuation of the iconic children's program without disruption but also sets a precedent for improved working conditions and protections for writers in the children's media industry. The deal's provisions for AI protections and enhanced residuals for streaming content reflect the changing landscape of media production and distribution.

WGA East president Michael Winship praised the solidarity and fortitude shown by the bargaining unit throughout the negotiations, stating, "This landmark agreement is a testament to the power of workers standing together to achieve meaningful gains." The 35-member bargaining team, which started negotiations in February, will vote on the agreement in the coming days.

This is not the first time Sesame Street writers have been involved in strike talks, with previous disputes in 1978 and 2000 over residual rights and freelance work. The WGA expressed pride in working for an organization that values its writers, believing the new contract will positively impact writers throughout the children's media landscape.

The tentative agreement between Sesame Street writers and Sesame Workshop marks a significant victory for the show's creative team, ensuring fair compensation, improved benefits, and protections in a changing media landscape. As the longest-running children's television program in the United States, Sesame Street continues to captivate and educate young audiences, with its dedicated writers playing a vital role in its enduring success.

Key Takeaways

  • Sesame Street writers reach 5-year agreement with Sesame Workshop, averting strike.
  • Deal includes historic jurisdiction, AI protections, and improved residuals for writers.
  • Agreement sets industry benchmark, recognizing writers' value to Sesame's nonprofit mission.
  • Contract includes substantial improvements to social media residuals and minimum rates.
  • Deal sets precedent for better working conditions and protections in children's media industry.