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What studio executives are saying about the strike

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

All right, well, we did ask the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers if a studio head was available for interview. They declined, and a spokesperson wrote us this instead - quote, "the AMPTP fully recognizes that the talented, creative community makes the entertainment industry possible. The AMPTP is focused on reaching a swift resolution to the strike and is eager to have a meaningful negotiation about the issues on the table with SAG-AFTRA and WGA leaders."

Well, we're going to bring in NPR culture correspondent Mandalit del Barco now. She's been covering the double strikes in Hollywood, and she was with us during that interview with Fran Drescher. She joins us now in studio. Hey, Mandalit.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Hey, Ailsa.

CHANG: OK, so tell us more about what studio executives are saying about the strike.

DEL BARCO: Well, you know, if it's any indication, the AMPTP also recently hired a crisis management group and a public relations firm to try to change the narrative that they're the bad guys in this scenario. But then again, almost everybody in Hollywood has a PR agent.

CHANG: Right.

DEL BARCO: You know? So other than Disney's Bob Iger, who you quoted, Ailsa, we've heard very little from the heads of the studios, just a few anonymous quotes in some of the trade publications. Months into the strike, the studio CEOs finally met directly with the Writers Guild of America. That didn't go over so well. They were accused of chastising the writers. And as Fran Drescher noted, the studios haven't gotten back to the actors yet. But we might get some clues from the second quarter earnings calls these studio heads are making. Take a listen to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav talking to investors this week.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DAVID ZASLAV: It's critically important that everybody - the writers, the directors, the actors, producers, all the below-the-line crews - everyone needs to be fairly compensated. And they need to feel valued and feel that they're fairly compensated in order to do their best work. And we have to focus on getting that done. You know, I'm hopeful it's going to happen soon.

CHANG: That does kind of sound hopeful.

DEL BARCO: Well, Zaslav said because of its hit movie "Barbie" and because they're not spending on productions, Warner Bros. has had a good summer. But he says if the strikes go through the end of the year, he expects profits to go down by as much as $500 million.

CHANG: Well, how long do you think the studios can go without the writers and actors working?

DEL BARCO: We'll see how this fall goes for the studios. Actors and writers are not promoting their shows and movies. Some studios have delayed some of their big movie openings and will soon start noticing the only new content on the small screen are unscripted shows, reality shows. And one last thing - younger generations may not even have much use for traditional Hollywood. Just ask my 11-year-old. She watches TV and movies, but even more TikToks and YouTube videos.

CHANG: (Laughter) Oh, I so believe that. That is NPR's Mandalit del Barco. Thank you so much, Mandalit.

DEL BARCO: Thanks, Ailsa.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHARRELL WILLIAMS AND KANYE WEST SONG, "NUMBER ONE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.