Producers won’t cross hotel pickets

PGA announced decision following unanimous vote

The Producers Guild of America has switched the site of its Jan. 22 awards show to Culver Studios from the Century Plaza due to a union boycott of the hotel.

The PGA announced the decision Tuesday following a unanimous vote by its board. The Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America West have not yet decided whether to switch from the Century Plaza for their kudos shows, set for Jan. 29 (the DGA) and Feb. 19 (the WGA West).

“We support our sister guild in its dispute,” said PGA exec director Vance Van Petten. “We didn’t want to face a scenario of having our members cross a picket line or go through an informational picket.”

WGA West assistant exec director Cheryl Rhoden said the union was still exploring options but had not made a final decision. The DGA had no comment.

Los Angeles hotel workers repped by Unite Here called a month ago for a boycott of nine luxury hotels, including the Century Plaza, due to lack of progress in contract talks. The union resumed talks Monday with the hotels for the first time in three months.

The workers are seeking improved health and pension benefits plus a two-year deal that would expire at the same time as contracts with hotels in other cities.

Van Petten said the PGA event, which usually draws more than 800 attendees, would launch with a cocktail party in the area of the New York street set, followed by a dinner and awards show on Stage 6. “Culver Studios did a great job of convincing us that we could hold a very glamorous event that will be very producer-friendly,” he added.

The PGA will announce its nominations Jan. 5 and has also decided to switch that event to the Culver Studios from the Century Plaza. The PGA’s producer of the year award in theatrical motion pictures has matched the best picture Oscar in 10 of the 14 years it has been presented, including in 2004, with “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

The PGA has established a new category to recognize producer of the year in variety television, along with kudos in nonfiction television, episodic television drama, episodic television comedy and longform. Wayne Brady will emcee; presenters will include Zach Braff, Clint Eastwood, Ashton Kutcher, Eva Longoria, Sandra Oh, Will Smith, Amber Tamblyn and Jeffrey Tambor.

Van Petten credited event producer Scott Mauro and co-chairs Laura Shuler Donner and Stacy Sher with reacting nimbly to changing circumstances.

Both the WGA and DGA have about 12,000 members. The PGA, which doesn’t have collective-bargaining agreements, has about 2,000 members and acts as an advocacy group for the profession.

The WGA East will hold a simultaneous awards ceremony with the WGA West on Feb. 19 at the Pierre Hotel in Gotham.

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