RKO signs interim deal with WGA

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UPDATED 7:00 P.M. PT FRIDAY, JAN. 25

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RKO Productions is the latest company to sign an interim comprehensive agreement with the Writers Guild of America, the guild announced Friday.

The agreement is similar to those struck by the WGA and several production companies and studios, including Lionsgate, Marvel Studios, The Weinstein Co., United Artists, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Spyglass Entertainment, MRC, Jackson Bites, Mandate Films and Worldwide Pants.

"The negotiation with the guild was smooth and businesslike; they kept their agreement and we kept ours," said RKO's CEO Ted Hartley. "This now releases the pent-up energies of the talented executives, producers and writers at RKO. We all are eager to get back to creating great films and innovative programming today."

RKO will announce its production schedule next week, which includes several film projects, as well as financing, producing and distributing a number of new versions of classic RKO films from its 1,300 title library.

In a joint statement, WGA East president Michael Winship and WGA West president Patric Verrone said, "In the past, RKO gave the world such classics as 'King Kong,' 'Citizen Kane' and 'It's a Wonderful Life.' Not it looks to the future, signing an interim agreement that recognizes fair and respectful compensation for writers on the Internet and in new media."

Meanwhile, representatives of the WGA and Hollywood studios met for a fourth consecutive day of informal talks Friday. Another session is expected, though timing of the next get-together is unclear. The parties are hoping to find enough areas of mutual agreement to get formal negotiations between the WGA and studio reps resumed. Formal talks broke down Dec. 7.
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