Despite the tense relationship between Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and the Writers Guild of America, Zaslav is now praising the WGA, telling the New York Times about the recent deal they made after their five-month long strike: “They are right about almost everything…So what if we overpay? I’ve never regretted overpaying for great talent or a great asset.” Zaslav’s comments seem to take a total 180 from where he, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, and others in the CEO Gang of Four–consisting of Zaslav, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Disney’s Bob Iger, and NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley–stood just months ago.
The Gang of Four, the AMPTP, and the WGA reached a tentative agreement on September 24, followed shortly after by the 148-day strike officially ending on September 27. According to Deadline, the scribes approved the deal by almost 100% in a ratification vote that ended on October 9.
The WGA deal was estimated to be valued at around $700M over three years, and its contents made impressive gains in many issues, such as AI, data transparency, employment benefits, and so on. Their achievement is in direct contrast to Iger’s earlier statements in July, claiming that those striking were “just not realistic” and “quite frankly, very disruptive.”
Although he was vilified for his paycheck during the early parts of the WGA strike, Zaslav was instrumental to the deal’s success inside and outside the negotiation room. According to an industry insider, Zaslav “put on his lawyer’s hat and got to work while Iger and Sarandos worked out the broad strokes with the writers.”
For more context on why Zaslav was vilified for his paycheck, the WBD CEO was ranked No. 25 on this year’s annual list of the 25 most overpaid CEOs by the nonprofit group As You Sow. Last year, he was No. 1. The nonprofit also showed a stunning ratio of 227/1 regarding the CEO-to-worker pay ratio.