I’m told Nick Counter, the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, wants ALL of the negotiating committee members at tomorrow’s Thursday’s 10 am session, no matter what. (Today’s and then Wednesday’s sessions were cancelled because AMPTP wanted time to caucus.) That’s leading the Writers Guild of America side to think maybe something’s gonna give. I hear the Hollywood moguls’ negotiating team is indeed working overtime to devise that new combination of alternatives and options to present to the WGA, as I reported on Monday. So they want as many from the other side as possible, not just the usual militants but also the bigtime writers/hyphenates, to hear the producers’ POV in person.
Counter’s side contends there were just a dozen people at Monday’s session out of the 40 who should have been there, including “not a single exec from WGA East”. This isn’t true: WGAE was repped at Monday’s session by screenwriter and Negotiating Committee member Terry George. “The WGAE has always had at least one member, and usually many more, present at every day of negotiations, despite the fact the negotiations are held in Los Angeles and all the WGAE members and executive staff live in New York or the East,” the guild told me. “The WGAE has always been represented at the bargaining table and is actively involved in strategy and decision-making for this negotiations.”
UPDATED: Meanwhile, the WGA West is vehemently denying today’s strike “scoop” by Variety‘s Dave McNary anticipating that the WGA will pull the plug on its demand that producers place Reality TV show writing under its jurisdiction. See my just posted, WGA Says Variety Scoop Has No Reality. The story made sense to me, because, when all is said and done, this Reality TV issue needs to be negotiated first with IATSE and then AMPTP. Interestingly, this was an issue that the moguls told me last weekend needed to be taken off the table. But I found no evidence that the WGA was taking it off the table.
Despite news reports about a sour meeting where neither side budged, I’ve heard that yesterday’s session actually went pretty well. “WGA proposals were actually addressed, and people were pleasant,” a source from the writers side told me. But after yesterday’s talks, both AMPTP”s Counter and the WGA side issued scathing statements.
Counter said, “The WGA leadership dismissed the withdrawal of the producers’ recoupment proposal as insignificant despite their claim that this was a major impediment to reaching an agreement. The WGA leadership has yet to make any movement on its own or the producers’ proposals. Instead, they continue to pursue numerous financial proposals that would result in astronomical increases in our costs,” Counter added. “Their proposals would also further restrict our ability to promote and market TV series and films and profhibit us from experimenting with programming and business models in New Media.”
Several hours later, the WGA West and WGA East issued the following statement: “We have no intention of discussing the producers’ rollback proposals. Not now, not ever.”