I’m told that News Corp No. 2 Peter Chernin and Walt Disney President Bob Iger spent today talking about Internet issues with reps for the Directors Guild, including negotiations committee chair Gil Cates and executive director Jay Roth. The DGA contract doesn’t expire until June (same as SAG’s), but the helmers are bargaining early.
Here’s what progress I’ve learned has been made already in the DGA talks with the moguls: “The directors proposed a framework against which everybody would sit down and negotiate,” an insider tells me. “And then there were a couple of things, not major, that didn’t seem to be insurmountable as far as economics left to be talked about. So they’ve started putting those on the table, and the meeting is going on today.”
Even hardliners among the moguls like Warner Bros boss Barry Meyer are widely known to be “very eager” to get a DGA deal quickly in order to lord it over the striking WGA. But I’ve been hearing rumors that the official start of negotiations between the AMPTP and DGA — originally thought to kickoff tomorrow — is delayed because these pre-sessions have been a “grind” and not making as much progress as the DGA would have liked. “I wouldn’t characterize it as delayed,” an insider admits. “Both sides are being careful to say nothing has been officially scheduled. Semantics are alive and well in both camps.”
Asked to explain what is causing the delay, the source tells me that the “DGA is being smart about this. This has to be a deal for the community and they know it now. They’re not going to rush in until all the ducks are in order.”
(Interestingly Chernin and Iger were also the two moguls who had that secret meeting back on November 17th with Writers Guild president Patric Verrone and chief WGA negotiator Dave Young and others at the home of Creative Artists Agency partner Bryan Lourd which was aimed at restarting writer-producer talks.)