Is The End Approaching?By Rachel
January 26, 2008 - 8:35 AM
Recent developments generate optimism in the industry.
The Directors Guild of America (DGA) came to an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and wrote out the details of a potential three-year contract between the directors and producers. The deal included jurisdiction over content distributed on the internet, doubling residuals for internet downloads and establishing residuals for ad-supported internet streaming. If the members of the DGA accept the terms, the contract will go into effect July 1. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has said that they will examine the terms of the DGA deal and determine if they are agreeable for the writers. "Now that those negotiations are completed, the AMPTP must return to the process of bargaining with the WGA," the writers said. "We hope that the DGA’s tentative agreement will be a step forward in our effort to negotiate an agreement that is in the best interests of all writers."
It is hoped that a deal can be reached between the WGA and the AMPTP within the next few weeks. Showrunners are pushing for the two sides to settle on a deal similar to the one between the producers and directors. While the DGA deal is not perfect from the WGA standpoint, it does show improvement in key areas that are important to the writers. John Wells, executive producer and writer for ER, said that the strike was instrumental in creating the deal which the directors and producers ultimately agreed on. "While the DGA richly deserves our thanks and appreciation for negotiating a terrific deal that will serve as a template for all three creative Guilds, none of this would have been possible without the blood, sweat and sacrifice of WGA members during this very effective strike," Wells said. "The Companies made a deal they didn’t want to make because of our resolve. They clearly understood how important these issues were for our members and stepped up to resolve them."
The WGA and AMPTP started informal negotiations this past week. Both sides are operating under a news blackout, but it is believed that the discussions have been productive so far. Pressure from the showrunners was partially responsible for the WGA removing proposals for reality and animated jurisdiction--a move that has been seen as a sign that the writers are ready to get down to business and make a deal.
It is estimated that the strike has cost Los Angeles County approximately $1.5 billion in wages and related economic activity (a number which does not include lost production money for studios). As the cost of the strike mounts, networks are already considering possibilities for how to return to production once a deal is made. One option is that networks may air new episodes during the summer, another is to end the current season where it stands and start fresh in the fall, and yet another possibility is to produce episodes now but save them for the upcoming season.
For more information on the DGA deal, visit Variety. To read more about the showrunners' role in resuming negotiations, check out Hollywood Today. Information about the informal meetings between the WGA and the AMPTP can be found at Variety, as can further details about the cost of the strike.