WGA writes comedy deal

Guild pacts with Comedy net

The Writers Guild of America has reached deals to rep writers on four Comedy Central skeins.

Guild announced Tuesday it will rep about 30 scribes on “Mind of Mencia,” “The Sarah Silverman Program,” “The Showbiz Show With David Spade” and the upcoming series “American Body Shop.” The pacts include WGA compensation levels, pension and health benefits, credits and a residual formula for reuse (including DVD, basic cable and Internet).

“This is an important and historic achievement coming only weeks before our industrywide negotiations begin,” said WGA West prexy Patric Verrone. “I’m sure all writers share my gratitude for the fortitude and tenacity of our Comedy Central colleagues, which resulted in an excellent agreement. This success only increases our commitment to win a contract for the writers of Comedy Central’s newest hit, ‘Lil Bush,’ and ‘Reno 911.'”

The WGA announced six weeks ago that about 35 writers from the series plus two other Comedy Central shows had asked to be repped by the guild. At that point, the WGA had demanded a single contract for all shows, but has now reached separate agreements on each show.

“From the beginning of our discussions with the WGA, we expressed a willingness to enter into negotiations on a show-by-show basis,” Comedy Central said. “We are pleased to have concluded agreements for these live action shows.”

The WGA was able to make deals earlier this year for Comedy Central’s New York-based “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report.” It noted Tuesday that the WGA now covers every live action show currently in production on Comedy Central.

“These contracts show what’s possible when the companies come to the table and are willing to negotiate,” said Chris Albers, president of the WGA East.  “We hope this is a sign of things to come.”

Verrone and Albers have made organizing nonunion shows a priority during their two-year tenures. The guild tried for several months last year to organize “America’s Next Top Model” through support for a strike by the dozen writers via dozens of demonstrations and rallies, but was unsuccessful; those writer slots were eliminated.

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