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As Hollywood Writers’ Contract Ends, Studios are More Vulnerable
This time, a federal mediator has not stepped in. And production companies have done almost nothing to prepare for a strike, which seems to signal that they may ultimately be prepared to offer a deal palatable to the writers.

04/29/2017

WGA Says Estimated $156 Million in Increased Payments Would Be ‘Reasonable’
With no resolution in sight for contract negotiations, the Writers Guild of America is estimating that it would cost employers $156 million annually to increase payments to writers under its proposal to production companies. The guild says the six major companies generated $51 billion in operating profits in 2016.

04/28/2017

WGA Negotiations Slow as SAG-AFTRA Sets Talks for Mid-May
With talks between the Writers Guild and AMPTP studio alliance scheduled to continue Friday, progress since bargaining resumed Tuesday has been tentative and uncertain. However, the WGA has made proposals on a number of open issues and management is likely planning to respond, but further details were unavailable.

04/28/2017

Ng: A Strike by TV and Movie Writers May Be Just Days Away
A decade after the previous walkout that lasted 100 days, film and TV executives are once again bracing for a strike that could roil the business and Los Angeles' bedrock entertainment industry. The ripple effect of a walkout is expected to touch all aspects of Hollywood, from the corporate suites to film sets in far-flung locations.

04/27/2017

After 1-Day Strike, IATSE Wins Contract with NBC’s ‘Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge’
The non-union reality show had been shooting its second season in Atlanta earlier this month when several IATSE members working on the production contacted their union reps, who quickly organized a walkout. “A picket line went up before dawn, and a crew of more than 200 people did not report for work,” the union said. “Production was shut down all day.”

04/27/2017

Studios & WGA Can’t Even Agree on Lost Revenues from Last Strike
With only six days to go before film and TV writers could launch their second strike in a decade, labor and management still strongly disagree over the impact of the last strike – a troubling sign that could indicate the two sides aren’t seeing eye-to-eye about the WGA’s willingness to strike again this tim

04/27/2017

Writers Guild East Slams Reality TV Shows as ‘High-Status Sweatshops’
The Writers Guild of America, East and nonfiction TV writers-producers testified on workers’ rights on Tuesday at a public hearing, describing labor on reality television as “high-status sweatshops.”

04/26/2017

Jonathan Demme, Oscar-Winning Director of 'Silence of the Lambs,' Dies at 73
Filmmaker Jonathan Demme, who won an Academy Award for best director for The 'Silence of the Lambs,' has died. He was 73.

04/26/2017

Handel: WGA Talks Resume: Inside the Offers (and Counteroffers) on the Table
As talks between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers resumed Tuesday, two divergent paths have come into sharp focus: In one direction lies a strike as early as May 2 by a guild emboldened by an overwhelming 96.3 percent strike authorization tally achieved Monday, while down the other path lies a deal that the two sides have been edging towards inside the bargaining room. It’s difficult to see how a multi-hundred million dollar gap was or will be bridged prior to the May 1 contract expiration, but on an issue-by-issue basis, the parties have moved closer, according to sources’ accounts. A deal may yet be in reach — or, perhaps, a strike.

04/26/2017

WGA Contract Talks Resume Wednesday
Buoyed by an overwhelming show of support for their bargaining position – only 237 writers voted against strike authorization – WGA leaders are expected to hold the line this week on their prime objectives: to save the guild’s ailing health plan, which faces projected deficits of $145 million over the next three years, and to improve the lot of TV writer-producers, who the guild says have seen their average salaries fall by 23% over the last two years, largely because of shortened seasons brought about by a sea change in the TV industry’s business model.

04/26/2017

WGA Establishes Strike Fund in Preparation for Walkout
In a clear sign the WGA is gearing up for a possible strike, the WGA West is moving to establish a strike fund to assist members who will be facing financial hardships in the event of a prolonged walkout.

04/26/2017

WGA Members Approve Strike Authorization in Historic Turnout
The strike authorization was approved by 96.3% of the 6,310 writers who cast ballots, according to the WGA, a record 67.5% of eligible WGA members. A strike, if it comes to that, can’t begin until midnight May 1, when the current film and TV contract expires. A strike can still be averted if the WGA and management’s Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers can work out a deal this week. The talks, which took a two-week hiatus to allow the WGA East and WGA West to poll their members on strike authorization, resume Tuesday.

04/24/2017

Chill on Rumors of Netflix Side Deal as WGA Strike Authorization Looms
With the result of the WGA’s strike-authorization vote expected Monday, those binge-ing on the hope of a rumored Netflix side deal with writers if picket lines go up next week should chill out: it ain’t happening.

04/24/2017

Eisendrath: I Voted for a Hollywood Writers' Strike, but I Don't Want One
“[Friday] I voted to authorize the leaders of my union to call a strike that I desperately don’t want,” John Eisendrath in The Los Angeles Times. “The result of the vote will be announced Monday, but the outcome was never in doubt."

04/23/2017

Dayen: Looming Writers Strike is About Much More Than What’s on TV
“People say we’re living in the golden age of television,” writes David Dayen in In These Times. “Fans enjoy more high-quality choices than at any time in history. But this could all grind to a halt if the Writers Guild of America follows through with authorizing a strike, which would start May 2 barring any last-minute deals with the major studios."

04/21/2017

WGA Members Cheer for Strike Authorization
The WGA’s march toward strike authorization continued Wednesday night at the Beverly Hilton, where hundreds of writers gathered to voice their support for their leaders’ bargaining position. As was the case at Tuesday night’s meeting, it appears that nearly everyone in attendance stands ready to strike if they don’t get a fair deal.

04/20/2017

WSJ: Entertainment Industry Prepares for an Unwelcomed Sequel—Writers’ Strike II
While there are more shows than ever, the guild, which represents around 12,000 members, said the average salary of TV writers fell by 23% over the past two seasons. Also, the amount of episodes per-show has shrunk and is often cut in half or more from the traditional 24-episode order.

04/19/2017

WGA Strike Authorization Voting Underway
The first votes were cast Tuesday night to authorize the first writers’ strike against the film and TV industry in a decade, and although they won’t be counted until next Monday, it now appears all but certain that members of the WGA East and West will give their leaders the authority to call a strike if next week’s last-ditch contract talks fail to produce a fair agreement.

04/19/2017

Gareth Hughes Dies: Exec Who Reshaped Labor Relations in Hollywood, at 74
Hughes was VP Labor Relations at MCA/Universal in 1975 when the old Association of Motion Picture & Television Producers broke up over the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees’ demand for a massive pay raise. Universal and Paramount agreed to the union’s demand for a 52% pay hike, but the other studios refused, which led Universal’s Lew Wasserman and Paramount’s Barry Diller to pull out of the old AMPTP.

04/18/2017

WGA-AMPTP Talks Off Again Until April 25
Negotiations for a new WGA film and TV contract have recessed for another week, and will resume next Tuesday. “The WGA and the AMPTP have agreed to resume negotiations on Tuesday, April 25, 2017,” they said in a joint statement Monday.

04/18/2017

WGA Contract Talks Resume Monday After Good Friday Recess
Negotiations for a new WGA film and TV contract recessed Friday in observance of the Good Friday holiday. The talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will resume on Monday and are expected to continue throughout the week as the WGA East and West begin polling their members for the authorization to call a strike if negotiations fail to produce a fair contract by May 1, when their current contract expires.

04/14/2017

Reality Show Workers Stage a Walkout to Push Contract Talks Forward
On Wednesday, the WGA renewed its push for a separate contract for "unscripted" writers, staging what it called a walkout at roughly a dozen reality show companies in New York and Los Angeles, including Leftfield Entertainment, best known for making the cable hit “Pawn Stars,” and Peacock Productions, a unit of NBCUniversal.

04/13/2017

Michael Ballhaus, ‘The Departed’ and ‘Goodfellas’ Cinematographer, Dies at 81
German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, who shot Martin Scorsese’s best picture winner “The Departed” and helped numerous Scorsese films achieve their singular visuals, has died at his Berlin apartment after a short illness. He was 81.

04/13/2017

On-Location Film Production in L.A. Falls to 5-Year Low; TV Dramas Dip in Q1
Nearly three years into California’s revamped and expanded $330 million film and television tax credit program, feature production in Los Angeles took a big hit in the early months of 2017, according to FilmLA.

04/12/2017

MGM, Paramount Sued for Allegedly Failing to Pay 'Ben Hur' Musicians
The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada has filed a new lawsuit claiming that MGM and Paramount Pictures has failed to pay wages, benefits and residual compensation to musicians who recorded the score for the 2016 film remake of Ben Hur.

04/11/2017

Baftas 2017: Triumph for the TV Shows Never Shown on TV
The Bafta shortlists offer an annual freeze-frame of trends in TV. And the most striking thing this year is that two of the strongest contenders have never been shown on television – as it has been understood for most of the 62 years over which these prizes have been given.

04/11/2017

'The Impasse We Have Here is Bona Fide,' WGA Negotiator Says in Rare Look Behind Closed Doors
“I just want to clear something up,” Keyser said, “because there has been such a misinformation campaign by the AMPTP about how the talks broke down in the first place – this idea that the Writers Guild walked out of the talks. It’s just an absolutely provable falsehood."

04/10/2017

Hollywood Payroll: What Took the Industry So Long to Go Digital
Today's film studios are packed with enough technology to launch a SpaceX rocket. But off the lot, in the offices where Hollywood's checks are cut — the payroll-services companies that handle the salaries on most movie and TV productions — they're still filling out time sheets by hand on triplicate carbon paper. Or at least they were until very recently.

04/10/2017

WGA Contract Talks Resumed Monday with Conflicting Data
As negotiations resumed Monday on a new WGA film and TV contract, one of the guild’s main goals is to address the declining fortunes of TV writers. But two sets of competing earnings data, each pointing in a different direction, may make it difficult for negotiators to crunch the numbers — or even to agree on which numbers to crunch — as the writers and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers attempt to avert a threatened strike.

04/10/2017

MPAA Applauds New York State Extension of Film-TV Tax Credits
As you might imagine, the MPAA is happy Monday after New York state lawmakers including Governor Andrew Cuomo agreed over the weekend to include in their $153 billion budget a three-year extension of tax breaks for film and TV producers.

04/10/2017

Academy Launches Internship Program Aimed at Diversity and Inclusion
After a much-publicized effort to invite more international artists and artists of color into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last year, the organization has announced a new initiative aimed at fostering students and professionals from underrepresented communities.

04/10/2017

Writers Say 'Peak TV' has Hurt Them; Contract Talks Extended
Five days of bargaining are scheduled to begin Monday after an initial two weeks of talks ended with an impasse and an offer rejected by the guild. The WGA negotiating committee recommended a strike authorization vote, which the guild board and council both seconded. If no settlement is reached, Guild members will begin voting on whether to give their bargainers the authorization to strike on April 19. The current three-year contract expires May 1.

04/09/2017

A WGA Strike Threat Timeline: How We Got to the Brink
With negotiations set to resume on Monday for a new WGA film and TV contract – and strike authorization voting set to begin April 18 – the run-up to what could become the first industry-wide strike in a decade has its roots in the last strike, and the September 2015 election that brought the WGA West’s current leaders to power.

04/07/2017

Writers Guild Promises Strike on May 2 if No Deal is Reached
In a letter to media buyers, the guild says it is seeking a $178 million per year deal and warns it will strike as soon as the current contract expires if no agreement is reached.

04/07/2017

Andreeva: Hollywood TV Biz Keeps Calm and Carries On in Face of Potential Writers Strike
“One factor that is not around this time is the DGA," writes Nellie Andreeva in Deadline Hollywood. "In 2007, the directors waited for the WGA to negotiate their contract first. Weeks into the writers strike, with no end in sight, the DGA moved in to quickly negotiate a deal with the studios that served as a template for the WGA, with the writers union reaching its own agreement soon thereafter. This time, the DGA completed negotiations for a new contract well ahead of the WGA."

04/05/2017

WGA: Don’t Blame the Last Strike for Screenwriters’ Declining Fortunes
The WGA said screenwriters’ earnings hit a record high of more than $526 million in 2007, the year the union last went on strike, and haven’t come close to matching that in any year since. But while the strike years of 2007 and 2008 marked a turning point, the WGA insists that the 100-day walkout was not the cause of screenwriters’ declining fortunes.

04/05/2017

WGA Sets Dates for Strike Authorization Vote
The WGA has set the dates for its first strike authorization vote in 10 years. Voting by members of the WGA West will begin on April 18 at a special membership meeting at the Sheraton Universal, followed the next day by online balloting and another membership at the Beverly Hilton. Both meetings will start at 7 pm.

04/05/2017

SAG-AFTRA Contract Battle with Telemundo Receives Support from Latin American Actors’ Federation
SAG-AFTRA has received the support of the Latin American sector of the International Federation of Actors in the union’s ongoing efforts to negotiate a contract on behalf of Telemundo’s on-air performers.

04/04/2017

AMPTP Hopes WGA Will 'Engage with Us' When Contract Talks Resume
“Our objective continues to be to reach an agreement with the WGA at the bargaining table,” the AMPTP said. “We hope the Guild will engage with us on the issues in that forum when negotiations resume on April 10th.”

04/04/2017

SAG-AFTRA Claims It 'Has the Momentum' In Video Game Strike
Claiming that it “has the momentum” in its 23-week-old strike against selected video game companies, SAG-AFTRA says “many signs indicate that our strike is working” and that the 11 struck companies “are feeling the pressure.”

04/03/2017

WGA Releases Trove of Data to Support Its Bargaining Position
The WGA has released a trove of data to support its bargaining position that writers are not sharing the record profits reaped by the major companies over the last decade. The union also released figures showing that its health plan is in dire condition – facing more than $145 million in projected deficits over the next four years, leaving the plan basically broke and with less than two months of reserves by the end of 2020.

04/03/2017

Ng: Why the WGA is Moving Closer to a Strike
“A decade ago, Hollywood writers brought the entertainment industry to a standstill when they walked off the job for three months in a dispute over pay for movies and TV shows distributed online,” writes David Ng in The Los Angeles Times. “The strike halted dozens of TV and movie productions and sent shock waves through the Los Angeles economy."

04/02/2017

SAG P&H Plans’ 'Unreasonable' Fees and Expenses Appear to Have Violated Federal Law
Recently concluded investigations by the US Department of Labor into the SAG Pension and Health Plans have concluded that the plans’ trustees “appeared” to have breached their fiduciary obligations by charging $756,027 in “unreasonable” fees and expenses to the Plans in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the federal law that governs private sector pension and health plans.

04/02/2017

WGA, AMPTP Agree to Resume Contract Talks April 10
The guilds’ core issues – the ones that could set off their first strike in nearly 10 years – are more money for film and TV writers and a bailout of the WGA’s failing health plan. Currently, employers pay only 9.5% of covered earnings into the plan, while the companies are paying 10.5% into the DGA plan.

04/02/2017

Vancouver’s TV Boom Starts to Fizzle as Some Shows Move to California
Both Legion and Lucifer qualified for tax incentives under a two-year-old California drive to lure TV production to the state. And there’s another departing series. According to the IATSE Local 891 union, representing production workers in British Columbia, the Shut Eye series on the Hulu streaming service, starring Jeffrey Donovan, will be relocating to California – where its story is set – after shooting its first season in Vancouver.

03/31/2017

WGA Says It Wants to Keep Negotiating Despite Strike Vote
The guild confirmed into a statement to Variety on Wednesday that it is ready to resume talks on a new master contract whenever the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is ready to meet. Meanwhile, the AMPTP says it has been waiting to hear back from the guild on the next step for the talks.

03/30/2017

WGA East’s Council Asks Members to Authorize Strike
In the second of a one-two punch that puts the WGA further along the road to a threatened strike against the film and TV industry, the WGA East’s council voted Tuesday night in New York to seek strike authorization from the guild’s members. The vote comes a day after the WGA West’s board voted in Los Angeles to seek the same authorization from its members. The back-to-back votes were recommended unanimously by the WGA negotiating committee, which broke off contract talks with management’s AMPTP on Friday.

03/29/2017

WGA West’s Board Votes to Send Strike-Authorization Ballots to Members
Hollywood moved a step closer to an industry-crippling writers’ strike Monday night when the WGA West’s board of directors approved sending strike authorization ballots to the guild’s members. Monday night’s vote came at the unanimous recommendation of the WGA negotiating committee, which broke off contract talks with management’s AMPTP on Friday. The WGA East’s council will vote Tuesday to send strike authorization ballots to their members.

03/28/2017

Hollywood on Edge as WGA, AMPTP Point Fingers After Talks End
The WGA West’s board of directors is expected to vote Monday night on the negotiating committee’s request for a strike authorization vote. The WGA East’s governing council is expected to consider the matter on Tuesday. If approved, which seems likely lest the guilds’ leaders appear divided, the ballots could be out by next week. As of Monday, there was no date on the calendar for the sides to resume talks.

03/27/2017

Handel: Did the Writers Guild Sandbag the Studios with Short Talks?
“As the current Writers Guild of America talks were being planned months ago, the union told studio negotiators that two weeks of negotiations would be sufficient to achieve a deal, two knowledgeable sources told The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday,” writes Jonathan Handel in The Reporter. “But when talks began, the guild presented a complex and expensive list of proposals that couldn't possibly be handled in such a short time period."

03/27/2017


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