WGAW, Fox in toon on pact

Ani scribes get equal collective bargaining recognition

The Writers Guild of America West has reached a collective bargaining agreement with Fox Television for writers on four animated programs, bringing them up to parity with writers of live-action shows.

Primetime series “The Simpsons” and “King of the Hill,” as well as the upcoming Matt Groening show “Futurama” and newcomer Seth MacFarlane’s “Family Guy,” are the focus of the deal, which covers more than 50 writers.

Along with a guild contract signed in May with Imagine Television for Eddie Murphy’s “The PJs,” the agreements set up collective bargaining recognition for primetime animation writers for the first time.

“We’ve been actively organizing in the field of animation for going on two years,” said WGAW assistant exec director Paul Nawrocki, a member of the negotiating team. “The ‘PJs’ deal and the Fox deals are part of the fruit of those labors.”

Nawrocki said the union is not currently negotiating with other producers, but that it intends to, soon.

In a statement released by his office, WGAW exec director Brian Walton said he hoped “that this far-sighted agreement will lay the framework for similar contracts in this genre.”

Mike Scully, executive producer of “The Simpsons,” said the show’s writers “appreciate the hard work of the WGA, the support of Gracie Films, and the positive attitude of 20th Century Fox in settling this matter.

“Now,” he added, “we’ll have to find something else to complain about.”

Talks for the Fox deal began Aug. 11 and concluded two days later. The negotiating team included writers Larry Doyle and Dan Greany representing “The Simpsons,” Alan Cohen and Jim Dauterive (“King of the Hill”), Chris Sheridan (“Family Guy”) and Patric Verrone (“Futurama”).

Speaking for the WGA were president Daniel Petrie Jr., secretary-treasurer Michael Mahern and staff members Jane Nefeldt, Susan Gerakaris, Christine Albrecht-Buehler, Kay Schaber and Nawrocki.

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