WRITERS GUILD STRIKE — IS AN END IN SIGHT?

The Writers Guild of America strike is now entering its third month. Production on film and television projects have ground to a halt. Yet, as my JMBM colleague, E. Barry Haldeman, suggests in his Malibu Times op-ed piece, the end may be in sight.

The WGA has signed “interim” agreements with independent production companies and smaller studios, which could signal a break in the ranks of the studios which have held firm against the writers’ demands. The Weinstein Company, the newly revamped United Artists and David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants Production Company are among the companies who have reportedly signed such interim agreements with the WGA. Those companies are now free to resume production on their projects.

In addition, the Directors Guild reportedly has achieved some progress in its “pre-negotiations” with the AMPTP. Reports suggest that the directors can reach agreement with the AMPTP in a matter of a couple of weeks.As Barry writes, these recent events give some hope that the writers’ strike can also be resolved in short order.

However, the WGA and the studios/networks have recently taken adverse actions against each other, which suggests that a resolution is not imminent. The WGA has pressured networks and studios by refusing the grant waivers for the upcoming awards season. Having reduced the Golden Globes to a reading of award winners, the Oscars and the Grammys — usually a time for celebration in the entertainment industry — are now in jeopardy. On the other side, ABC Studios, CBS Paramount Network TV, Warner Bros. TV, 20th Century Fox TV and Universal Media Studios have started to terminate overall deals with writers and producers. Representatives of the terminated talent vow revenge. Thus, the end result of both sides continuing to draw blood from each other is that nothing is getting produced in Hollywood.

If both sides persist in continuing this fight, the obvious conclusion is that darker days for the industry lie ahead.