WGA Cuts Interim Deal with United Artists; Leaves MGM in the Cold

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has struck a deal with United Artists, allowing some feature writers to go back to work and opening the door for other independant studios to negotiate, writes Dave McNary of Variety. Official details are slim (MSNBC reports that exact details of the deal have not been released), but the overall feeling is that while this is a good thing for Tom Cruise’s production company, on the whole the deal doesn’t benefit the negotiations at a wider level. Or at least this is the feeling of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). According to them:

“One-off deals do nothing to bring the WGA closer to a permanent solution for working writers. These interim agreements are sideshows and mean only that some writers will be employed at the same time other writers will be picketing … Until the people in charge at WGA decide to focus on the main event rather than these sideshows, the economic harm being caused by the strike will continue.”

UA is not a member of the AMPTP, unlike it’s parent company MGM, to whom this deal does not extend, and in a statement addressing the news of the interim agreement between the WGA and UA, MGM said it

“…understands the desire of United Artists to resume its business activities but respectfully disagrees with its decision to sign an interim agreement.”

Which sounds a little like sour grapes to me. Of course, United Artists aren’t the only ones negotiating interim deals with the WGA. Earlier last week, David Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants, reached a deal allowing writers for his late night shows to come back to work without picketing, so slowly but surely the independants are moving. With any luck, they’ll have content back on the air, and the AMPTP will realise what a foolish errand it is to continue with these hold out tactics, and will finally allow the writers to get their deal, and bring our movies and television back to the screen, silver or otherwise.

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