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Writers, studios said to have resolved key issues


Hollywood's striking writers and major studios have resolved their key differences in contract negotiations, moving them closer toward a final agreement that would end a 3-month-old walkout.

After two weeks of talks, the parties Friday bridged the gap on the central issues surrounding how much writers should be paid for work that is distributed via the Internet, said three people close to the talks who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential.

A final contract could be presented to the Writers Guild of America's board by late next week, the people said.

Attorneys from studios and the guild were meeting over the weekend to discuss contract language for the proposed agreement, which would have to be ratified by the union's 10,500 members.

Representatives of the Writers Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios, declined to comment, citing a press blackout.

Writers began their strike Nov. 5 in a dispute largely over new-media pay.

Talks revived two weeks ago, after studios quickly negotiated a contract with directors.

The writers' agreement is modeled on the directors' pact, which doubles residual payments for films and TV shows sold online and secures the union's jurisdiction over shows created for the Internet.

Guild negotiators David Young, Patric M. Verrone and John Bowman are scheduled to brief the union's negotiating committee on the proposed deal Monday.

Writers and studios alike have confronted heavy pressure to find a way to end a strike that has cost thousands of workers their jobs, threatened the upcoming television season and kept in limbo the Academy Awards show Feb. 24.

A number of top writers, including several members of the Writers Guild's negotiating committee, have viewed the directors' pact as a flawed but workable model for their own agreement and had strongly conveyed that message to guild leaders.

Many writers, however, complained that the directors' contract offered meager residuals on shows that were streamed on advertising-supported websites and limited the union’s jurisdiction over shows created for the Web. Progress in the talks suggested that studios may have improved the terms for writers in those areas.

More news on the strike

-- Richard Verrier

Comments () | Archives (12)

I don't believe the writers will ever have as good a job as they had before the strike nor will there ever be as many writers working as before the strike. Lets see who still has a job left when the dust settles. A bond has been broken that may never heal.

If there is even a WHIFF of sell-out here, There Will Be Blood...

This strike was resolved last week.
A week ago I was told it was resolved.
They are just awaiting Super Tuesday to be over to announce it.
last week, The unions were asked how long it would take to "button up" the sets if they started shooting 3-5 episode arcs to cliffhang all the shows, and all the talk shows were notified and have begun preparing for the writer's return.

The plan is to be back in business in the next week, pending the certain ratification.

farnk, who cares how many writers are working if they aren't being paid fairly for that work? This strike has always been about the profession being viable in the future-- the bad home video deal of the 80's made it clear that the writers can't just roll over this time and trust the studios will eventually do right by them out of the goodness of their hearts.

And shame on this insiders who are leaking info. This thing isn't over until it's agreed to by the membership and the deal is signed.

Hey, farnk.

First of all, your name needs a rewrite.
Second, what you believe doesn't really matter.

What you fail to see in this strike, farnk (sic?), is that it's not about the present, it's about the future. We know we're sacrificing money we'll never make back. We know there will be shows and films we were working on that will simply have disappeared when this strike is over. We know that not only we, but thousands of others out there are feeling the effects of this strike now.

But this strike -- like so many battles -- isn't about now. If it were, none of us would be sacrificing. This strike is about ensuring that future generations of writers will be compensated fairly for their work, will be able to get health care for themselves and their families, and will be able to stand strong against the hegemony of the multinationals.

Business may never be the same again, but there will be business -- if for no other reason, than that there's simply too much money to be made from what writers, actors, and others are able to create in this town.

from reading comments around the web, no matter what happens, people won't be happy. I'm in different 'below-the-line' union, and while I stand strongly with the writers right to strike, and most of their points, I read a lot of unhappy posts no matter how good/bad the deal is. We're dying out here with mounting past due notices and missed mortgage payments. For the sake of hundreds of thousands of other people in this biz (as well as yourselves)... GET IT DONE !!!!

The Strike needs to end now. Too many good people have been put out of work and are facing economic ruin because of the lunacy of the WGA Leadership. Not just Below the Line crew but writers as well.

If a deal is in place, call off the strike and let people go back to work.

Cut frank a break. He's right about one thing - if studios give in on the back end - you'll see less in overall deals - that means writers will actually have to write a successful show to make money - not get it upfront - horrors! And for those of you preaching the Future...well if the Guild was so worried about the future why didn't they start negotiating before the contract was up (like the directors), why didn't they share in the study about the FUTURE REVENUE of FUTURE MEDIA when the directors guild offered it to them. Why did they demand that REALITY WRITERS be forced to join the union (after attempts to unionize them on their own failed)? This was not ALL about the future - some of this was an attempt to get back at the studios for the 80's strike (which I was here for and we lost), and some was a power grab into areas where they had no business being. And lets not forget - they perfectly happy with their script fees (38 grand for the worst written script on the worst show - that's guild minimum - and it's just 5 grand short of what the average american family makes in a year.) They are happy with their first run syndication money, they are happy with foreign sales money...that's a LOT of money folks. All we are talking about is FUTURE media - at the moment not much money there - maybe someday there will be - WHICH IS WHY SHARING A STUDY ON IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A GOOD IDEA. Don't be fooled folks - this is the rich and the super rich deciding how to cut up the pie - all you below the line schmucks just got screwed again. AND GUESS WHAT - the idiot actors will be next - and they will have to prove their not weak - just like the writers guild did. And as for the bad feelings in this town?

As a Production Coordinator that has been out of work since December. I am not worried if the Awards will be canceled ... I am worried if I have enough hour banked in my insurance benefit fund. Or if my Production Assistants or surviving on their unemployment checks. I am one of the lucky one that made enough that when I filed for unemployment, I landed on high end for the highest for unemployment, but as for my PAs and some of the other crew ... I don't think they qualify. I know some people in the industry have major health issue and need their health benefits ... without the hours, they don't get it. With this strike, we are effected in so many ways, not only finically, but it starts to take a toll on you mentally. I just hope that this all ends soon so we can go back to work and get back to our normal lives. I feel for the what the writers are fighting for. But not only do they have brothers & sisters in their union, but they have brothers & sisters in the whole industry.

The writers strike has led me to be more radical in my approach to limit external profit on my information consumption. I believe the writes are not only right in their actions but also conservative. I despise the unintelligent drivel that is being fed to the general populace. Paying writers fairly will help to alleviate this pain. They could ask for much more, producers should be grateful and concede. I thought TV was bad before the strike.

I would have FIRED every single one of the writers and busted the union.

The writers are responsible for thousands and thousands of non-writers losing their lively-hoods due to the greed of the writers. The number of writers versus non-writers makes the writers a huge minority (and their writing skills are poor to very weak).

You people want an industry shake-up? Ok, I would have busted up the writers union, the actors union and the directors union in one big swoop.

Those greedy slime make way too much money already.

The end agreement amounts to $600 per year ($1200 over 2 years).

You boneheads went on strike for a measly $600 per year! You people have zero brains. Not only are you poor writers, who write crappy shows, but your negotiating skills stink.

Fire them all. Bust the unions. Hire all new writers, actors and directors for much less money (just like the rest of the jobs in our country, you know, normal people). Then watch much better shows come out of the studios.

Let's face it, these Writers Guild members are not the greatest or best writers in the world. The world of TV and the big screen could very easily survive without them and more than likely thrive like never before.

The way they should be paid is simple. You get a minimum salary (to begin with) like every other profession in the world. If (and only if) you write a script for a show that ends up in the top ratings, then you get paid more as long as that show maintains it's ratings. If you write crappy scripts that end up being crappy shows then you get paid crap. Simple.

There will be a huge backlash as you writers already know. You were not very bright for striking out at the hand that feeds you.

Next we have to deal with the grossly overpaid actors in June.

There will be a backlash there too.

You union people have to know that your days are numbered and that you are a minority in this day and age. Your time is nearing it's end.

It's only a matter of time before we bust your unions.

Funny thing is you held out for what amounts to a silly $600 per year. Not a very bright bunch are you?


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