View from the top: “My fear is that Verrone and Young will piss all over this”

As the town waits for an announcement of a deal with the DGA, one top exec at an AMPTP company is hoping the pact will prompt real movement in talks with the WGA.

He’s hoping—but he’s not holding his breath.

“I pray that when this deal is done that the writers look at the terms and say, ‘There are a lot of really good gains here….There’s a lot we can work with. Let’s look at this as a way to move forward’,” the suit said.

Exec said the DGA “has made some strong gains” for its membership with the new deal. While an agreement with scribes would require “some tweaking here and there to deal with their specific concerns,” exec believes the DGA deal offers a solid template on which to reach a pact with the WGA.

That doesn’t mean the exec is convinced such a pact will fall into place immediately.

“My fear is that Verrone and Young are going to piss all over this,” he said, repeating an oft-heard lament from AMPTP members that the WGA leadership hasn’t been reasonable in its dealings with studios.

Exec said he didn’t believe the AMPTP would offer up its likely agreement with the WGA as a simple “take it or leave it” proposal.

And while he didn’t go so far as to predict that the producers would offer some sort of olive branch to the writers, he predicted studios wouldn’t take a hard line approach, either. There would be no “take it or leave it” proclamation from the AMPTP, he predicted.

“We’re not looking for retribution. We’re not assholes,” he said. “We just want everyone to get back to work.”

If a DGA deal doesn’t prompt movement in the WGA strike, exec said he’s hoping  big name scribes and showrunners will begin pressuring their Guild to make a deal. “That’s how the strike got settled in 1988,” he said.

One top scribe cautioned that it was premature for anyone to try to predict how WGA leadership will respond to a DGA—particularly when that deal hasn’t even been announced, and nobody knows the specifics.

“The CEOs are in sell mode right now,” he said. “They’re all going to be out there saying how great this deal is. But we’re going to have to have some patience and give our people time to look at it. That’s not going to happen in a half hour.”

Scribe also noted that while AMPTP members are quick to demonize Verrone and Young, the Guild’s negotiating committee—which is made up of a number of successful scribes and showrunners—has so far been solid in its support of the WGA’s strategy. If the negotiating committee believes the DGA deal offers a good template, WGA execs won’t be able to stop them from expressing that opinion, scribe said.

“You’re not talking about a bunch of wallflowers who are going to be bullied by Verrone or Young,” he said.

–Josef Adalian