WGA Ends Comedy Central Ban

WGA West Logo - H 2012

WGA West Logo - H 2012

In an email to members, guild leaders also signaled that negotiations for renewal of its industry-wide contract with producers won’t take place until 2014.

The WGA West has rescinded its Stop Work notice against Comedy Central’s production company two months after it was issued, the guild announced in an email to members Wednesday. The move came as a result of an overall deal reached between the WGA and the company, Central Productions.

According to the email, the deal includes “adoption of our industry-standard residual formula, and protection against Central Productions' past practice of hiring writers without a Guild deal in place.” The term of the deal was not disclosed.

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The guild also confirmed that it signed an agreement Jan. 11 with Prospect Park that covers the made-for-internet continuation of the ABC soaps One Life to Live and All My Children. The email gave no details of the agreement.

“As independent companies like Prospect Park step in to cover territory that used to be staked solely by the legacy media, we’ll be there,” said the email, which was signed by WGA president Chris Keyser, VP Howard Rodman and secretary-treasurer Carl Gottlieb.

The message also listed some key areas of focus for the guild this year: extending the reach of the WGA agreement, particularly in new media, nonfiction programming, video games, and transmedia, and countering sweepstakes pitching (in which numerous writers are called in to pitch and refine script ideas without compensation), free pre-writes, free rewrites, and “the epidemic of late pay that has become the bane of writers and their representatives alike.”

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The email also lamented the current climate for feature writers: “a confluence of one-draft deals, diminished development budgets, and the near-flatlining of studio-financed drama.”

Mentioned in passing in the message was an indication that WGA contract negotiations won’t take place until sometime next year: “By December we will be at the doorstep of our next negotiation.” The industry might have preferred to see early negotiations, but it looks like that will not be the case. The current agreement expires May 1, 2014.

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