WGA & AMPTP “Very Close” To New Labor Deal

By | Thursday March 6, 2014 @ 2:00pm PST

wga-logo__140128204911__140131020047__140205212542EXCLUSIVE: Four days after returning to the negotiating table, the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers are near an agreement on a new three-year contract, I’ve learned. “We’re not there yet and there are still a few more I’s to dot and T’s to cross, but we’re very close,” one insider told me today. With many of the bulky points already coming together in the first two weeks of talks, the two sides spent some of their two-week temporary recess fine-tuning the agreement, sources on both sides say, before sitting down again at AMPTP’s Sherman Oaks HQ. An official announcement could come as early as the beginning of next week. If you take out the downtime, this year’s talks pretty much follow the timeline of the placid 2011 negotiations, which started on March 3 that year and were all done by March 20.

RelatedWGA Contract Talks Brittle In Opening Days Over “Ridiculous” AMPTP Proposals 

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WGA Contract Talks Off Until March 4

By | Saturday February 15, 2014 @ 7:22pm PST

wga-logo__140128204911__140131020047The WGA‘s talks with the AMPTP over a new basic agreement began February 3 and there’s been little word from either side — except some hints of unease over the multimillion-dollar rollback proposal producers sent the guild before … Read More »

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UPDATED: WGA West & WGA East Slam Merger Of Comcast And Time Warner Cable

By | Thursday February 13, 2014 @ 2:00pm PST

wgaw__130208220853-200x112__130701180057__130917230333__130920203125__140131011111UPDATE, 2PM: Following their West Coast brethren, the Writers Guild Of America East today also came out against the proposed Comcast purchase of Time Warner Cable. Claiming that “Comcast/NBCUniversal want to further reduce competition at the … Read More »

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WGA Contract Talks Brittle In Opening Days Over “Ridiculous” AMPTP Proposals

By | Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 2:00pm PST

wga-logo__140128204911__140131020047There’ll be fireworks but no fire, and there will be a deal in the end. That’s the word I’m hearing from both sides out of the WGA’s contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers after two days of talks. No one is commenting publicly, but I’ve learned that besides presentations from both sides during the opening days, there’s palpable unease in the room at AMPTP HQ thanks to the multimillion-dollar rollback proposal producers sent the WGA more than a week before negotiations began. “There’s a feeling of, Why did you have to insult us?’” a WGA insider told me over the producers’ request for $60 million in rollbacks from the health and pension plans, residuals and targeted screenplay minimums. “Once again it makes us the least favored child of the guilds.” Some on the other side of the table don’t disagree with that assessment. “Those were ridiculous proposals meant to appease the people at the top, not anyone in the room,” a well-placed producer told me. “That’s why they were sent out more than a week and a half before talks started, to get the shot across the bow out of the way.”

Related: Writers Hopeful As They Head Into Contract Negotiations With Producers Read More »

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Super Bowl? WHAT Super Bowl? More Awards, Controversy, & The Santa Barbara Film Festival Keeps Oscar Season Sizzling

Pete Hammond

If you think Hollywood’s awards season will come to a complete stop just because of a little thing called Super Bowl29th Santa Barbara International Film Festival -  Outstanding Performer of the Year Award to Cate Blanchett Weekend, think again! As already covered extensively on Deadline yesterday, the pre-Oscar madness was running full tilt Saturday with the WGA, ASC and Annie awards, the Santa Barbara Film Festival and lots of lingering controversies about nominees and “rescinded” nominees. Whew! You’d think they’d give it a rest to let football take over but NOTHING gets in the way of Hollywood’s own Super Bowl!

28th Annual ASC Awards: ‘Gravity’s Emmanuel Lubezki Wins Feature Film Honor
WGA Awards: ‘Captain Phillips’ & ‘Her’ Win Top Film Awards
Annie Awards: ‘Frozen’ Wins Big Including Best Feature

I am up at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival this weekend where I moderated the two-hour sold-out Performance Of The Year tribute to Oscar frontrunner Cate Blanchett at the 2000-seat dream palace known as the Arlington Theatre. At the end of it, Cate received a standing ovation when future co-star Rooney Mara (they start shooting Todd Haynes’ Carol in March) presented her with the latest trinket in a season in which she has so far run the table  in terms of awards. She was a willing and warm subject onstage as we showed clips and I dissected her career, informing her at one point that, with The Aviator in which she played Katharine Hepburn, she became the only person to win an Oscar playing an Oscar winner. Always glad to pass on useless trivia to movie stars.

Over the years I have hosted several of these tributes, which are obviously well-timed as part of the Academy season. Festival executive director Roger Durling picks the honorees months in advance but always seems to have a good hunch who is going to be in the Oscar game. Among those 29th Santa Barbara International Film Festival -  Outstanding Performer of the Year Award to Cate BlanchettSBIFF plays to are numerous Academy members who live in the area, so it’s always smart exposure on the part of awards consultants — just as is the early-January Palm Springs fest in the pre-nomination period. Durling himself moderated a rollicking free-form session with American Hustle writer-director and Oscar nominee David O. Russell at the same venue Friday night. And earlier Saturday at the Lobero, there was a producers panel mostly populated with Oscar nominees followed by the annual Women’s Panel (moderated in style as usual by Madelyn Hammond — yes, we’re related) which also sported several current contenders. Among those coming up in the next week are Bruce Dern, Robert Redford, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio and several others. Some landed nominations, some didn’t, but they are all showing up regardless. It’s that time of year. Read More »

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WGA Awards: Writers Hopeful As They Head Into Contract Negotiations With Producers

By | Saturday February 1, 2014 @ 11:24pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

writersstrikeThe 2008 Writers Guild Awards fell on the waning days of the writers strike, with WGA West even cancelling their ceremony while the East Coast writers union held theirs as final touches were being put on the hard-fought new WGA-AMPTP agreement. Six years later, we’re in the final months of that agreement, and the 2014 WGA Awards tonight were held on the eve of the two sides kicking off negotiations on a new 3-year contract on Monday. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 6 years,” Christopher J Whitesell of best daytime drama winner Days Of Our Lives told Deadline. “Let’s hope it goes better this time than it did then.”

Related: WGA Sets February 3 As Start Of Talks With Producers

There has already WGAAwards2014been some contention, with WGA negotiating committee co-chairs Chip Johannessen and Billy Ray on Thursday expressing concern over a “surprise”opening proposal by producers that includes “$60 million in rollbacks for writers.” At the New York ceremony, WGAE president Michael Winship rallied the troops with a battle cry, “Divided we beg, united we bargain.” Most writers attending the events sounded optimistic about the the negotiations when asked by Deadline. Veteran Garry Marshall, recipient of the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing, joked, “We always are going on strike, it’s happened 5 or 6 times.” But he noted that the swift new DGA deal “gave a good inroad” for successful negotiations and “I hope the Writers Guild will follow.” Writers spent 100 days on the picket lines six years ago but, “I don’t think there will be a strike this time,” Marshall said. “We’ll only go on strike if it rains.” Read More »

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WGA Claims AMPTP Wants Big Pension & Health Contribution Cuts In New Contract

By | Thursday January 30, 2014 @ 6:21pm PST

wga-logo__140128204911Things are going downhill already just days before the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers are set to start negotiating a new 3-year contract. In an almost bizarre move, the producers allegedly … Read More »

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WGA Sets February 3 As Start Of New Contract Talks With Producers

By | Tuesday January 28, 2014 @ 12:43pm PST

wga logoNearly a month after DGA members ratified their new three-year deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers, the WGA today announced that it will sit down for their talks with the producers on February 3. The negotiations are set to take place at AMPTP HQ in Sherman Oaks. While the Writers Guild took the step to announce its negotiating committee on November 13, up to today, neither they nor SAG-AFTRA had set a start date for their respective talks with AMPTP. Not like the melded WGA West and WGA East committee doesn’t include some heavy-hitting scribes. There’s recently re-elected board members Billy Ray and David S. Goyer as well Damon Lindelof among the group. The committee will serve under WGAW Exec Director and Chief Negotiator David Young. The WGA’s latest contract is set to expire on May 1.

Related: AMPTP Respond To WGA West Plan To Go After Deadbeat Producers Read More »

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DGA Members Approve New Deal With Producers

By | Wednesday January 8, 2014 @ 10:20am PST

dgalogo__130425174010__131002211232-200x190__131023181458-150x150__131123183011__131218210512Yesterday my colleague Pete Hammond said there were “no surprises” in the DGA Awards Film nominees. Well, today the Directors Guild of America delivered even less of a shock as its members ratified the new three-year deal its negotiating … Read More »

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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday January 5, 2014 @ 5:15pm PST

Catch up with Deadline’s best film stories of the week:

hollywood-signYear-End: How A Growing Global Mandate And Franchise Fever Led To Movie Studio Tsuris
By Mike Fleming – Considering that global movie ticket sales reached precedent levels after a particularly robust holiday period and a mostly sizzling summer, 2013 was one of the most turbulent years I can remember in the executive suites of major studios.

Box Office: Nation In Deep Freeze As Ticket Sales Plummet; ‘Frozen’ Still No. 1, Just Shy of $300M; ‘Paranormal’ Audiences Scared While ‘Wolf’ And ‘Hustle’ Close
By Anita Busch – With the nation in a deep freeze, pictures across the board were affected this weekend. And Sunday moviegoing is expected to be down. With more estimates coming in, the odds are that The Wolf of Wall Street will just nudge out American Hustle by a mere $200,000 for the weekend to take the fourth spot.

Year-End: UK Tax Breaks Too Much Of A Good Thing? Tasty Danish Offerings; French Film Biz Blues; Germany, Russia, Italy, Spain
By Nancy Tartaglione – The UK emerged in 2013 as an increasingly attractive location destination with new and expanded tax credits – but can it stand the bulge? Hollywood has cozied up to Britain, not only bringing its films there to shoot, but now its TV programs while it also continues to plumb it as a source of original drama to be remade in the U.S.

Inside Llewyn DavisWGA Continues Strong Awards Season For ‘Wall Street’, ‘Hustle’, ‘Dallas’ & Woody, But ‘Gravity’, ‘12 Years’ & Coens Not Invited To The Party
By Pete Hammond – It continues to be a good week for American Hustle, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Her, Captain Phillips, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska. All followed up yesterday’s Producers Guild nominations with WGA noms this morning, making it 2-for-2 in the early guild contests of this new year. Read More »

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DGA Sets January 7 Deadline For New Contract Vote

By | Wednesday December 18, 2013 @ 1:16pm PST

dgalogo__130425174010__131002211232-200x190__131023181458-150x150__131123183011Members of the DGA have three weeks to vote on a new three-year deal its negotiating committee reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers late last month. Ratification packages were sent out this week to the 15,000 DGA members with a January 7, 2014 due date for returning ballots. “This ballot represents your highest responsibility as a Guild member and the core of why the Guild has existed and remained strong for over 77 years – to protect your economic and creative rights and freedoms. The Negotiations Committee and the Guild’s National Board unanimously – and enthusiastically – recommend that you vote YES for ratification of the Agreements,” said guild president Paris Barclay in an accompanying letter. In his first contract agreement as DGA boss, Barclay didn’t go soft on selling the deal to his members, playing up the wage increase provisions. “We successfully achieved critical gains for DGA members in a number of significant areas – the most important of which was to increase wages significantly for members by “breaking the 2s” – the pattern set after the economic downturn of 2008 that affected labor negotiations throughout the industry and resulted in 2% annual wage increases, at best”, he wrote in pitch to members dated December 13. “We succeeded – resulting in what will be 3% wage increases annually.”

Related: DGA Board Approves New Contract With Producers Read More »

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‘The Simpsons’ Sam Simon To Receive WGA’s Valentine Davies Award

By | Wednesday December 18, 2013 @ 8:43am PST

SamSimonLos Angeles – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) has named The Simpsons co-developer, Emmy-winning television writer/director/producer, and philanthropist Sam Simon as its 2014 Valentine Davies Award honoree in recognition of his humanitarian efforts and community service on behalf of writers. Simon will be feted, along with other honorees, at the WGAW’s 2014 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony to be held on Saturday, February 1, 2014, at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE.

“The work of Sam Simon’s life has entertained and humbled us, in equal measure. And while this Guild has often honored his wit and skill, today we honor his generosity and love – his understanding that we are, in the end, all caretakers of each other. Sam has dedicated himself to the cause of at-risk animals and people who have no other protector. A friend to them, he has become an inspiration to us, his grateful colleagues,” said WGAW President Chris Keyser.

A Writers Guild, West member since 1980, in November Simon also received the WGAW’s Animation Writers Caucus (AWC) 16th Annual Animation Writing Award, a lifetime achievement honor recognizing his contributions to the craft of animation writing.

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DGA Board Approves New Contract With Producers; 2.5% Wage Increase For 1st Year, 0.5% Pension Increase, Some SVOD & AVOD Increases

By | Saturday November 23, 2013 @ 1:44pm PST

Related: DGA, Producers Reach Tentative Deal On New Contract

As expected, the Directors Guild of America Board today unanimously rubber-stamped the new three-year deal its negotiating committee finalized with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers on Friday. … Read More »

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‘The Simpsons’ Sam Simon To Receive WGA West Animation Caucus Award

By | Wednesday November 20, 2013 @ 10:20am PST

Los Angeles – Veteran television writer-producer Sam Simon, who co-developed Fox’s long-running animated series The Simpsons and has been a writer, producer, and director on Taxi, Cheers, The Tracey Ullman Show, and The Drew Carey Show, will receive the Writers Guild of America, West Animation Writers Caucus’ (AWC) 16th Annual Animation Writing Award, recognizing his outstanding contributions to the craft of animation writing. The AWC’s lifetime achievement award will be presented to honoree Simon tomorrow night, Thursday, November 21, at the AWC’s annual meeting, reception, and awards ceremony at WGAW headquarters in Los Angeles. The Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean will present the AWC award to Simon, with WGAW President Chris Keyser slated to introduce the evening.

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WGA Sets Negotiating Committee For AMPTP Contract Talks, Start Date Still TBA

By | Wednesday November 13, 2013 @ 2:10pm PST

The Writers Guild of America, West and Writers Guild of America, East today named the members of the negotiating committee who will soon sit down with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers. With such heavy-hitting scribes as recently re-elected board members Billy Ray and David S. Goyer as well as Damon Lindelof among the group, the committee will serve under WGAW Exec Director and Chief Negotiator David Young to hammer out a new contract. While the 29-member committee has been set, a date has yet to be announced for the negotiations with AMPTP to actually start. The guilds’ current contract expires May 1. The Directors Guild of America set its own contract talks with the AMPTP to begin early this month on November 4, over six months before their agreement runs out on June 30, 2014. Here are the members who’ll serve on the WGA negotiating committee:

Chip Johannessen, Co-Chair

Billy Ray, Co-Chair
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WGA West Receives $11 Million In Payments From Nickelodeon

By | Thursday October 10, 2013 @ 7:00pm PDT

This spring, the Writers Guild of America, West demanded a $3 million bond from Nickelodeon because of “chronically late residuals payment and inadequate reporting practices”. At that time, the Guild threatened to issue a stop work order … Read More »

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R.I.P. William Froug

By | Thursday September 5, 2013 @ 4:09pm PDT

Emmy winner William Froug, a TV writer, producer and executive who also taught, authored books and was active in the WGA, died August 25 of natural causes in a Sarasota, FL hospice. He was 91. After a Navy stint in the Pacific during World War II, the NYC native sold his first novella to True Detective magazine in 1946. He transitioned to writing, directing and producing for radio, rising to VP Programs at CBS Radio in Hollywood by 1956. Froug followed the business to TV, contributing as a writer-producer to such series as The Twilight Zone, Playhouse 90 and Gilligan’s Island. He won an Emmy and PGA Award in 1958 for the telefilm Eddie, starring Mickey Rooney, and shared an Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy nom for Bewitched in 1967. His other small-screen credits include Bonanza, Charlie’s Angels, Quincy, M.E. and The Paper Chase. In 1987, he received the WGA’s Valentine Davies Award for his industry/community service and “for bringing honor and dignity to writers everywhere”. Read More »

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Joan Rivers Calls WGA Hearing “Bulls**t”

By | Friday August 2, 2013 @ 4:31pm PDT

The veteran comedienne and longtime Writers Guild of America member doesn’t want to talk, she wants to call the union out. “This is such a bunch of bullshit. E! should hire Anthony Weiner to work with … Read More »

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WGA And Academy Tribute To Fay Kanin

By | Tuesday July 16, 2013 @ 5:01pm PDT
Pete Hammond

The Writers Guild Of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences held a tribute Monday night for Fay Kanin, past Academy and WGA Screen Branch President among many other accomplishments. Kanin died in March at the age of 95. How fitting that the tribute was held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre on a day when the Academy announced a record 14 women are now serving on the Board Of Governors. When she became only the 2nd female President in Academy history in 1979 (Bette Davis served for two weeks in 1941 but enraged committee members and had to resign), Kanin was the sole woman on the entire Board. The 4-term Acad Pres was a true groundbreaker and a real giver as was clearly evident in the many speeches praising her life and career Monday night for an audience that included several past and present Academy Presidents and Board members. Read More »

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