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Warner Bros. Discovery CEO says writers’ strike will be ended by ‘love for the business and the love for working’

David Zaslav attends NRDC's "Night Of Comedy" Honoring Anna Scott Carter at Casa Cipriani, 2022, in New York City.David Zaslav attends NRDC’s “Night Of Comedy” in 2022, in New York City.

Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

  • Warner Bros. Discovery’s CEO said he thinks a “love for working” will end the writers’ strike.
  • David Zaslav also said the 10,000 striking writers deserved to be paid fairly.
  • Zaslav was criticized by a striking writer on CNN last week for his near-$250 million comp packet.

The CEO of media giant Warner Bros. Discovery says he thinks the widespread writers’ strike will be ended by writers’ “love of storytelling and lover for working.” 

Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box Friday, David Zaslav was asked what, apart from time, would bring writers back 

“I think a love for the business and the love for working,” Zaslav told Squawk Box. 

“We all came into this business because we love storytelling, we want to entertain and when we’re at our best, we get a chance to have an impact on the culture. 

“Almost all of us got into this business, you know, with a lot of sacrifice in order to to be part of that journey. And so that’s what’s gonna bring us together.”

Around 10,000 writers belonging to the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) are striking because of stagnating wages, rising living costs, and a significant drop in the average number of episodes being aired per season of a show. Meanwhile, the transition to streaming has effectively wiped out the traditional revenue stream of TV residuals — royalty payments. 

They argue this has occurred during a time of soaring profits as legacy broadcasters reap rewards from their switch to streaming services.

While Zaslav lent into emotive arguments to end the strike, he did also suggest writers deserved a better pay package. 

“In order to create great storytelling, we need great writers,” Zaslav said in the interview. “And we need the whole industry to work together and everybody deserves to be paid fairly.”

But tensions are growing between TV executives, who have seen their pay swell in recent years, and writers reportedly struggling to make ends meet.

Speaking on Tuesday to CNN, writer and WGA member Adam Conover called out Zaslav’s near $250 million compensation package in 2021, most of which came from an intermittent stock option. He earned around $39 million last year.

“That’s about the same level as what 10,000 writers are asking him to pay all of us collectively,” Conover said in reference to Zaslav’s 2021 pay packet.

“So I would say if you’re being paid $250 million… these companies making enormous amounts of money, their profits are going up, it’s ridiculous for them to plead poverty.”

Conover added: “If you look at these companies, they’re making more money than ever. It’s the people who make the shows for them that are making less.”

Warner Bros. Discovery didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider