THEY’VE AGREED TO TALK!

Writers and studios have agreed to resume negotiations on Nov. 26.

The Friday night announcement came on the 12th day of the strike in the form of a joint statement from the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

The two sides indicated that they have agreed to a news blackout.

“Leaders from the AMPTP and the WGA have mutually agreed to resume formal negotiations on November 26,” the statement said. “No other details or press statements will be issued.”

Talks collapsed on Nov. 4, principally over compensation for new media, triggering a blizzard of accusations and blame. The WGA went on strike the next day and no talks have been held since.

Backchannel efforts have been ongoing throughout the strike to restart the talks, spurred partly by the fact that the negotiations were progressing on the final day of bargaining. Agents and high-profile screenwriters and showrunners had been exerting pressure in recent days for a resumption of the talks.

The WGA leaders were angry over what they saw as a lack of substantive response by the AMPTP after the guild took its DVD residuals increase off the table. The companies contended that they had made significant moves in compensation for streaming video and giving the WGA jurisdiction over made-for-Internet work, based on existing properties.

WGA West president Patric Verrone had indicated that for his union to restart negotiations, it needed to receive an assurance that the companies would offer more in new media than they did on Nov. 4.

As for the companies, AMPTP president Nick Counter had said he needed to be convinced that the guild wanted to make a deal. He had moved away from last week’s stance that the guild would have to stop striking in order to return to the table.

“For true negotiations to take place, there has to be some expectation that a deal can be made, but by their past actions and their current rhetoric that certainly doesn’t appear to be the case,” Counter said in his most recent statement.

— Dave McNary
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