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WGA prexy Riskin wants a sequel

Voting to take place Sept. 18, ballots counted the 19th

Victoria Riskin has decided to seek a second two-year term as president of the Writers Guild of America, West, and will face Eric Hughes in her re-election bid.

Disclosure came Wednesday as part of an announcement of candidate selections by the WGAW nominating committee for officers. That panel also tapped incumbent VP Charles D. Holland, who will face Jessica Klein, and treasurer Patric Verrone, who faces David H. Balkan.

The contest is likely to have a significant influence on how the Writers Guild crafts its proposal in upcoming negotiations for its film/TV contract, which expires May 1. No bargaining dates have been set.

Writers’ earnings have been flat or gained slightly in recent years. Screenwriter earnings for 2001 totaled $388 million, TV earnings hit $373.7 million and pay TV was more than $14 million.

Riskin, wife of former WGAW prexy David Rintels and daughter of Fay Wray, won the 2001 election over Michael Mahern about three months after the guild’s down-to-the-wire negotiations that led to the current three-year pact. She campaigned on a platform that promised an aggressive approach to future bargaining.

Riskin indicated earlier this year that dealing with soaring health care costs — which have led to cuts in the WGAW-producers health plan — and jurisdiction over reality TV would be key issues at the bargaining table.

During her term, she has been one of Hollywood’s most forceful voices in opposing the Federal Communications Commission’s easing of media ownership rules.

The WGAW also announced 20 candidates for the eight open seats on the board of directors, including incumbents Irma Kalish, Peter Lefcourt, Tim O’Donnell and Melissa Rosenberg. Also running: Valerie Woods, Robert King, Henry Bromell, Don M. Mankiewicz, Lionel Chetwynd, Nicholas Meyer, Michael Miner, Elias Davis, Shari Goodhartz, Dan Wilcox, Seth Freeman, Christina Lynch, Lee Rose, Robert Roy Pool, J.F. Lawton and John Bowman.

Incumbents Chris Abbott, Terry Curtis Fox, Elizabeth A. Hunter and Ann Marcus decided not to seek re-election. King, Klein, Lawton, Mankiewicz and Meyer previously served as board members.

Eye on candidates

WGAW members also can become candidates by petition, with a July 23 deadline. Guild will host an evening for members to meet candidates Sept. 3.

Members may vote by mail or at the Sept. 18 annual membership meeting. Ballots will be counted Sept. 19.

There are about 8,500 members of the WGA West. There are approximately 3,500 members of the WGA East. The two orgs negotiate the film/TV contract jointly.

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