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Writers Guild, Agents Set to Resume Talks as Time Runs Out

Leaders of the Writers Guild and Hollywood agents are set to resume talks Thursday with a deadline looming to reach a deal over the next two days — or face potential chaos when the weekend starts.

The two sides held off on meeting Wednesday after the Association of Talent Agents scrubbed a planned get-together with the the guild in favor of meeting with their own members, according to a source. The two side had held three sessions in the four previous days and had began discussion on the key issues of packaging fees and ownership of production companies. It’s unclear whether the negotiators can find a compromise during the next two days.

The negotiators are facing a deadline of the end of Friday night to hammer out a deal before the WGA imposes a new Agency Code of Conduct — which will eliminate packaging fees along with banning ownership of production companies by WME, CAA and UTA.

The sides had been facing an April 6 contract expiration deadline, but an eleventh-hour gathering on that day led to the WGA agreeing to a six-day delay in the implementation of the code.

The two groups are trying to avoid the disruption of having thousands of WGA members fire their agents en masse. The guild has vowed to implement its new Code if it can’t reach a deal with the ATA on a new agency franchise agreement. Hollywood’s largest agencies, represented by the Association of Talent Agents, have balked at the guild’s Code of Conduct reforms.

WGA West executive director David Young has also told Variety that the guild has a draft lawsuit against the agencies alleging conflicts of interest in representing WGA members. That action could be filed if a deal isn’t reached.

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