WME says it is in “substantive discussions” with the WGA to end their 21-month battle over packaging costs and the agency’s affiliation with an associated production entity, Endeavor Content.
“We are currently in substantive discussions with the WGA to resolve the ongoing dispute,” Endeavor Chairman Mark Shapiro said in a statement. “The tenor of the conversation is positive, and we are working diligently with the WGA to move this forward as quickly as possible.
The WGA did not respond to a request for comment.
WME is the last major talent agency that has yet to sign the WGA franchise agreement. A deal would allow WME’s writer-clients to return to the agency. The WGA’s campaign to reshape agent business began in April 2019 when it ordered its members to mass fire their agents who refused to sign its code of conduct, amended versions of which will now phase out packaging costs by 2022 and will limit their ownership interests in affiliated production companies to just 20%.
WGA rejects deal proposed by WME; Agency says it ‘still has to tackle’ its ‘conflicts of interest’
On December 18, U.S. District Court Judge André Birotte Jr., who is presiding over their antitrust case, repeatedly urged WME and the union to settle their dispute before it goes to trial. “Come on guys. Meet. Do it, ”he told lawyers in attendance via Zoom.
A few days later, WME presented the WGA with a proposal that updated the terms of a previous proposal, but the WGA rejected it on December 29, stating: “WME still needs to seriously tackle the issue. their own conflicts of interest. . “
The next day, Birotte denied WME’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have ended the WGA’s boycott of the agency until the case could be tried. It was a major legal victory for the WGA and further pressure on WME to settle the dispute and sign the WGA franchise agreement, as have all the other big talent agencies.
Judge Dismisses WME’s Request for Preliminary Injunction to End WGA Boycott; Major legal victory for the guild
The Directors Guild gave their support to the WGA on December 31, when DGA National Executive Director Russell Hollander sent WME President Ari Greenburg a letter saying DGA had been following the negotiations closely. and litigation and believed the time was right to communicate our strong support for the WGA’s efforts to address the issue of affiliated production companies. “
The WGA’s battle with major agencies began in April 2018, when it notified the Association of Talent Agents of its intention to renegotiate its basic artist management contract, and a year later the writers voted by an overwhelming majority to end the deal and all non-franchised agencies. . Since then, the WGA has negotiated 10 successive versions of its franchise agreement to accommodate reasonable agency proposals – starting in May 2019, when Verve signed; again last summer, when he signed UTA and ICM, and last month when he signed CAA.