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HomeBlog the LineAnother interim WGA agreement: This one with MRC

Another interim WGA agreement: This one with MRC

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Announced by the WGA this morning:

Writers Guild of America and MRC Announce Interim Agreement

LOS ANGELES – The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and MRC, the independent film, television, and digital studio, have reached a comprehensive interim agreement that forges a new alliance between writers, producers, and financiers in the production of feature films, television shows, and digital programs.

“This is an exciting agreement that will open up opportunities for writers, especially in New Media,” said Patric M. Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America, West, and Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America, East. “We know that Guild members will be eager to be a part of the MRC creative team.”

“MRC operates from two basic concepts and this agreement is a natural extension of that ethos: we treat talent as our partners and we maximize distribution across all digital, film and television platforms,” said MRC co-CEO’s Asif Satchu and Modi Wiczyk. “As with all of our partnerships, we could not have accomplished this agreement without creative talent. In this case, we especially want to thank our colleague Seth MacFarlane for helping pave the way with the WGA and also to the leaders of the Guild who worked with the utmost professionalism.”

The terms of the agreement are similar to the Guild’s recent deals with Worldwide Pants and United Artists.

As this headline from last year reveals, MRC is making a push to deliver “digital content” online, possible through partnership with Google. Whether they sense an “opening,” as old school corporations like GE and Disney refuse to settle with writers, remains to be seen…

And shortly on the heels of this announcement, came a letter from WGAe President Michael Winship, delineating the present moment, strike-wise:

Today, the Guilds signed a comprehensive interim agreement with Media Rights Capital (MRC), the independent film, television and digital media studio currently working with such creative talents as Larry David, Ricky Gervais, Seth MacFarlane and Gordon Ramsey. Although not yet a household name, MRC has more motion pictures and TV shows in production than all the other entities with whom we’ve made agreements so far combined. Most important, they have over a dozen original made-for-the-Internet properties with many more to come. The deal represents a paradigm shift to original content for new media, produced and distributed under a Writers Guild contract without the involvement of a major studio or network.

On Friday afternoon, the Guilds also signed an agreement with The Weinstein Company, one of the most important and successful independent film studios in the business. The deal is virtually identical to the previously announced agreements with United Artists and Worldwide Pants and, like those, includes all the new media and other proposals which would have been formally presented to the studios and networks had they not walked away from the table on December 7.

More of these agreements are in the works and we will announce them to you as they occur. Each demonstrates our willingness to bargain fairly and reasonably and shows that the companies with whom we’re making these deals realize that what we’re asking for is equitable and realistic. What’s more, each deal helps divide the conglomerates and creates competitive pressure.

In other good news, last week we reached a tentative agreement with CBS News on a new contract for Guild members who have been working there under an expired contract since April 1, 2005.

The agreement must still be ratified by membership vote. It covers approximately 500 newswriters, editors, desk assistants, production assistants, graphic artists, promotion writers, and researchers working in television and radio at the national and local level in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington.

Like you, our CBS News members have shown enormous solidarity and tenacity during a difficult process, and I congratulate them, the negotiating committee, our staff and our professional negotiators, especially Guild East Executive Director Mona Mangan and Assistant Executive Director Ann Toback.

Finally, as I’m sure you’ve heard on the news, on Saturday, the Directors Guild began formal negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. In a joint press release with the Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guilds, East and West, wished the DGA well and offered our hope that they achieve a fair deal that incorporates principles that benefit all creative artists. We further stated that, while the DGA has to do what it believes is best for its
membership, it is important to remember that they do not represent writers and actors. If the DGA is able to reach an agreement with the AMPTP, we will carefully analyze the terms to see whether or not they advance our interests. SAG will do the same.

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