SATURDAY UPDATE: I've just been told that the Hollywood/Big Media CEOs who belong to the AMPTP are furious at MGM chairman Harry Sloan for "allowing" this WGA-United Artists deal to go through.
FRIDAY NIGHT: This is big. This is BIG! Because WGA sources just told me that the guild has clinched an "Independent Agreement" with Tom Cruise's and Paula Wagner's re-started United Artists. This now means that small and struggling UA has a leg up on every other Hollywood studio because it will be able to hire the striking writers. This is to date the first so-called side deal cut by the WGA with a movie studio since the strike began on November 3rd as part of the guild's newly articulated "divide and conquer" strategy. The WGA's first side deal with a production company was an "interim agreement" with David Letterman's Worldwide Pants which owns both The Late Show and the Late Late Show airing on CBS. Granted, given how tiny UA is -- only six executives -- and how limited their movie development can be, this is more of a symbolic than a significant development in the ongoing WGA strike.
I'm told that, like Letterman's company, UA has accepted the very same proposals that the WGA presented to the media conglomerates when the Alliance Of Motion Picture & Television Producers walked out of contract negotiations back on December 7th. "It's the same kind of agreement that the guild made with [David Letterman's] Worldwide Pants. But 'interim agreement' is not the right word," a WGA insider explained to me. "At the end of the day, once an overall agreement is done between the WGA and AMPTP, if the terms and conditions of that agreement are more favorable to UA, they will be able to enjoy that. This essentially means that UA has the ability to be in business with the WGA."oh yeah....The Golden Globes broadcast owes the ratings success of its telecasts to this: the presence of stars, stars and more stars, and all the spontanity that goes with them. So I have to ask: without the actors, just who will be on stage -- a bunch of studio moguls who are hardly household names? It's absurd that an NBC spokesperson just told me, "We are prepared to move forward with the Golden Globe telecast on January 13th." Even after SAG President Alan Rosenberg announced today there is "unanimous agreement" that the actors will not cross WGA picket lines to appear on the Golden Globe Awards as acceptors or presenters. This includes the more than 70 actors nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Immediately, the striking writers issued a statement of gratitude. Their union also is keeping at arms length any side agreement with Globes producer Dick Clark Productions because, as everyone knows, the awards show is really nothing more than a black-tie worldwide marketing tool for studio and network product.