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EXPLAINER-What caused the Hollywood writers' strike and is it over?

(Adds details on the agreement)

Sept 27 (Reuters) - Hollywood writers' union said its members can start returning to work on Wednesday even as they decide whether to approve a deal bargained with major studios, including Netflix and Walt Disney. Is the strike over?

Almost. The leadership of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has voted to end the strike after nearly five months on picket lines. The 11,500 union members have until Oct. 9 to vote on the proposed contract. What caused the strike and what were the demands?

Writers began the strike on May 2, demanding higher royalties, mandatory staffing of TV writing rooms and safeguards to their jobs from the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

Another demand was for residual payments when a show becomes a hit. Writers said they have suffered financially during the streaming TV boom in part due to shorter seasons and smaller residual payments.

What did the writers get in the new agreement?

Details on the three-year contract suggest that the studios have given in to several demands, including pay raises, increased health and pension benefits.

The studios have also agreed to meet with the union at least twice a year to discuss plans to use AI in film development and production.

But the companies are not barred from using AI to generate content. Writers, however, have the right to sue if their work is used to train AI.

The guild has also won guarantees of minimum staffing in writers' rooms. Staffing will be based on the number of episodes per season. Minimum pay rates will climb by more than 12% over three years.

The estimated value of the deal was $233 million per year, according to the WGA.

When will TV shows and movies return?

The strike's end means daytime and late-night talk shows can return to the air.

Late-night talk shows such as "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" could be among the first to be back.

But for everything else, it could take longer as the actors and performers' union is still on strike. Their demands are similar to that of writers, including higher wages and protection against AI use.

The Screen Actors' Guild (SAG) is considerably larger than the WGA with 160,000 film and television actors, stunt performers and other media professionals.

Analysts said studios will try to move negotiations quickly with the SAG-AFTRA, but it could still take more than a month for an agreement to be ratified.

That means viewers will have wait more for the latest seasons of top shows like Billions, Stranger Things and Abbott Elementary. (Reporting by Yuvraj Malik and Zaheer Kachwala in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)