DGA and Studios Reach New Deal

Hollywood Sign on November 16, 2005 in Los Angeles, California - Getty-H 2020
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Details will be released after submission of the deal to the guild's national board on Saturday.

The Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television producers have reached an agreement on a new three-year agreement ahead of a June 30 contract expiration, the DGA announced Thursday.

Details will be released after submission of the deal to the guild's national board on Saturday.

Negotiations began Feb. 10 and were led for the union by Negotiations Committee co-chairs Jon Avnet and Todd Holland, and the Guild’s chief negotiator, National Executive Director Russell Hollander. For the studios and producers, AMPTP president Carol Lombardini was understood to be lead. The talks concluded Wednesday.

The AMPTP confirmed the deal but otherwise declined to comment.

The WGA is expected to begin negotiations later this spring in advance of a May 1 contract expiration, and then SAG-AFTRA, whose contract expires June 30. However, so far as is known, talks have not yet been scheduled. The issues for both unions include basic wages, residuals, and holds and exclusivity related to short seasons such as are common on streaming platforms.

With regard to residuals, the DGA pact sets a pattern (as yet undisclosed) that will most likely end up applying to the other two guilds as well, if history is a guide. But whether the WGA, in particular, will seek better residuals terms to the extent of striking over that and other issues is a concern that has led studios to stockpile scripts.

Mitigating against a writers strike are two factors. One is the uncertainty posed by the coronavirus-fueled COVID-19 epidemic, which could deter mass gatherings such as protests, and might shut down work or even preclude bargaining sessions, which usually involve meetings of 50 to 100 people.

In addition, according to a press report which The Hollywood Reporter has not confirmed, the WGA plans to drop an earlier-announced demand for a so-called Collins clause that would forbid studios from doing business with talent agencies, such as the Big Four (WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners), that have not reached deals with the WGA. The AMPTP previously rejected such a clause, and a WGA push for one would have complicated negotiations even as the guild and the three largest agencies remain locked in a federal court battle.