Mid-tier talent agency Buchwald has become the second ATA literary agency to break from the Association of Talent Agents (ATA) and sign a franchise agreement with the Writers Guild of America (WGA). According to a recent publication in The Hollywood Reporter, the agreement was signed three days after the WGA signed Kaplan Stahler, a smaller shop, and three weeks after the guild ended joint talks with the ATA with a cease-and-desist letter.
Buchwald and Kaplan Stahler join Verve, a non-ATA shop, in having reached individual agreements with the WGA. The three are believed to be the only agencies with significant literary departments to have signed with the guild since the termination of the industry-wide 1976 franchise agreement on April 12th, known as the AMBA.
The WGA’s lawsuit against the four biggest agencies is pending in court, and the three largest agencies have antitrust suits pending against the guild in federal court. Since April, 7,000 writers have fired their agents on WGA orders, and WME parent Endeavor has filed to go public in an IPO that is continuously attacked by the guild.