WGA to seek individual deals to break impasse with AMPTP
As the strike lingers on and the Writers Guild of American (WGA) and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) seem no closer to bridging their philosophical and monetary gap, the WGA is set to try a new tactic. According to Variety, the WGA is going to make a "legal demand" today for individual members of the AMPTP to schedule bargaining meetings with the WGA. However, at this point it isn't clear if the companies are legally obligated to do so, and if not, will they?
An offshoot of this story, reported earlier this weekend, is that David Letterman's Worldwide Pants, which fully owns both Late Show and Late, Late Show may be early beneficiaries of this. Since the strike's inception, Pants has been looking to ink an interim deal with the WGA that would allow the shows to return to the airwaves. In the wake of word that the Leno/O'Brien pair may be returning January 7, '08, Pants resubmitted the notion of an interim deal.
The Guild believes that the individual members of the AMPTP have conflicting priorities that are hindering a consensus of intent and desire that the AMPTP as a whole can represent. As such, individual negotiations would allow the WGA to address the concerns of those key individual members ... er ... individually.
AMPTP spokesmen Jesse Heistand says, however, "This is merely the latest indication that the WGA organizers are grasping for straws and have never had a coherent strategy for engaging in serious negotiations." They also posted an ad at the AMPTP website signed by eight member CEOs stating simply: "Different assets ... different businesses ... different companies ... one common goal. To reach a fair and just agreement with writers and get back to work." Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like anyone is ready to play nice and these individual negotiations will not be on the table unless legal obligation becomes a factor. And then, will the studios do so in good faith?
I am totally ready to strike my individual deal with the WGA. You allow the writers to get back to work on Lost so I can get my full sixteen episodes this season and I'm happy. That's it. No muss, no fuss. Sure, I want 24 and Battlestar Galactica and so many other shows, but I can be patient on those. Take your time. Work out your deals. But you get those crazy kids down in Hawaii off the roads and back behind the cameras so I can get my Dharma Initiative fix this year as God intended. That's all. Thanks. Please sign here ... and initial here ... and here ... and on the back here ... and initial ... and down here ... and here ... and oh, one more over here ... and on the back there. Great!