With just a month to go before the April 6 expiration of the WGA’s franchise agreement with the Association of Talent Agents, David Shore, the co-chair of the guild’s negotiating committee, says he has first-hand knowledge that the ATA is “either naïve or disingenuous” about one of its key arguments about packaging deals.
Shore, the creator of House and the executive producer of The Good Doctor, wrote Thursday in a message to the guild’s members that the ATA “tells us that eliminating packaging fees won’t result in more money going to writers. Or to anyone; that it will just go back to the studio. That seems either naïve or disingenuous. The agencies have been able to get the studios to pay these fees in exchange for delivering us to the studios. The value of that service remains unchanged.
ATA Says It Remains Ready To Resume Talks “At Any Time
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“But more than seeming wrong, I know it’s wrong. I insisted that a show I was developing not be packaged. And, as a direct result, I received control of the points that were normally allotted to the agencies. Furthermore, I have been able to increase my budget by an amount equal to an imputed packaging fee. That extra money now goes to the show, where it belongs, to use as we see fit, not to an agency.”
The WGA presented the ATA with its proposals for a new agreement nearly a year ago, but the two sides have only met twice – on February 5 and February 19 – at the bargaining table. The guild and the ATA say they’re both ready to resume the stalled negotiations, but haven’t yet set a date.
The WGA East and West will hold a vote of their members on March 25, when guild members are expected to approve a new Code of Conduct that would ban packaging and agency production deals with related entities. If a new agreement isn’t reached with the ATA by April 6, the guild says it will order its members to fire their agents en mass who refuse to sign the Code.
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