Billy Ray, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter, director and producer who has used his downtime during the Hollywood labor strife between shifts on the picket lines to turn Strike Talk into a tour de force that has demystified the issues and explained the inflection point that made this standoff unavoidable, this week strikes his most hopeful tone in the 21 podcasts he has done so far.

For the first time, he is openly musing that this podcast might be nearing its final act, this after a week in which the WGA and signatories met twice with encouraging results, and with some of the top moguls seated at the table with AMPTP negotiator Carol Lombardini.

Ray also engages in some fascinating talk about the biggest resurgence in the labor union movement in a half century, as workers seek protection in an increasingly automated world that is threatening the jobs of so many. Joining him is David Frum, senior editor of The Atlantic and MSNBC contributor; Peter Savodnik, senior editor at The Free Press; and Mary McNamara, the culture columnist and critic at the Los Angeles Times.

We at Deadline have relished Billy vast contributions to unwinding this complex labor strife — he has been a North Star to WGA and SAG-AFTRA members and we wanted them to have that. But if it means the end of a strike, which has strained the resources of thousands who rely on the film and TV industries for a living, all around the world … we will tip our hats and watch him and other artists go back to their day jobs. We will miss his opening soliloquies — tying the ancient Egyptian pyramid builders to the Teamsters is an all-time favorite — and we will do our best to get him to turn his talents to another podcast on the writer’s life, and perhaps find a way to help get his grasp of history and its connective tissue to current events between the covers of a book.

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