WGA in sync with Grammys


The show must go on, and now it officially will.

The WGA said Monday that it has agreed to an interim agreement with the producers of the Grammy Awards telecast. The move was widely expected after the guild said last week it would not picket the Feb. 10 ceremony at Staples Center in Los Angeles (HR 1/23).

"Professional musicians face many of the same issues that we do concerning fair compensation for the use of their work in new media," WGA West president Patric Verrone said Monday. "In the interest of advancing our goal of achieving a fair contract, the WGAW board felt that this decision should be made on behalf our brothers and sisters in the American Federation of Musicians and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists."

The deal, believed to be modeled on other interim agreements reached with David Letterman's production company Worldwide Pants and others, means that material for the show will be written under a WGA contract, in effect giving the union's blessing to the awards show despite the 3-month-old writers strike.

"The Recording Academy is gratified by the WGA's decision to grant the interim agreement we requested for our milestone 50th annual Grammy Awards," Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said. "Having our talented writers on the team further ensures the highest level of creativity and innovation, something our audience has come to expect every year."

The news of an interim agreement comes after two weeks of intense behind-the-scenes negotiations among various entertainment and music industry guilds to convince the WGA that picketing the show would not serve its best interests — and that doing so would set the stage for an ugly showdown between organizations that revel in presenting a unified front.

The announcement last week that the WGA would not picket the show came on the heels of high-profile talent, including SAG member Beyonce and Foo Fighters, saying that they would perform at the show regardless of whether it was officially labeled a struck work.

Ann Donahue is senior editor at Billboard.