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HBO, WGA ‘Curb’ ad-lib skein under guild pact

Writers to take credits on each episode

HOLLYWOOD — The Writers Guild of America and HBO have agreed to place Larry David’s comedy skein “Curb Your Enthusiasm” under guild jurisdiction.

The agreement calls for either David or the writer to take a “Story By” credit on each episode. Co-exec producer and director Robert B. Weide won an Emmy last month for directing for a comedy series for the episode “Krazee-Eyez Killa.”

During its three seasons, “Curb” has been shot from scene outlines given to the cast, who often then improvise lines. The skein revolves around David portraying himself and several other showbizzers such as Ted Danson, Michael York and Mary Steenburgen in recurring roles.

The WGA has also attempted to organize HBO’s reality-drama “K Street,” which uses a similar approach to “Curb,” with cast members improvising from outlines, but the guild has not been successful so far. “K Street” debuts this fall.

The signing comes in the wake of the WGA’s organizing drive aimed at scribes working in reality TV. The guild launched a “nonfiction organizing contract” in April since only a few of the several thousand writer slots on nonfiction cable series are covered by the guild.

The guild has been touting its low-cost agreement for nonfiction series on basic cable nets with standard contract features such as health, pension and credits protection.

WGA West prexy Victoria Riskin told members earlier this year that expanding guild jurisdiction to the reality TV sector would be a major priority in upcoming negotiations with studios and nets. Current contract expires May 1.

Riskin has also accused the entertainment congloms of duplicitous behavior on the reality TV front, saying they form “doppelganger” companies with the sole purpose of avoiding WGA contracts.

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