Oscars Saved, Just In Time
Writers and producers reach agreement, with writers likely back to work this week
The strke is over… sort of.
Staggered by the cancellation of the Golden Globes and fearful that the same fate could befall next months Oscars, Hollywood producers have agreed to give striking writers a piece of the profit that their work might make over the Internet, thus ending the strike that has played havoc with the Los Angeles economy and left television awash in reruns and reality shows for more than three months.
“We have reached a historic agreement that covers new media for writers and guarantees our share in the future,” Writers’ Guild of America, West President Patric M. Verrone said in a press conference Sunday afternoon at the Writers Guild headquarters in Los Angeles. “This morning, based on the unanimous recommendation of the WGA negotiating committee, the WGA has called for a contract ratification vote by the membership.”
Although the writers won’t be able to ratify the contract for several weeks, the membership will hold a vote Tuesday to end the strike, meaning that the earliest that Jon Stewart and the other Oscar writers will be able to write jokes for the Feb. 24 Oscar telecast is late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
In exchange for getting royalties for new media, the Guild had to give up their push to have their membership include animators and reality television.
“I think what happened with the Golden Globes was instrumental in getting this deal,” said the WGA’s Chief Negotiator David Young. “That is what brought the CEO’s to the table. They realized that the creative community was united in this strike and that with out creative talent they can’t produce anything. It was a huge symbol.”
While many of Hollywood can finally exhale after three and a half difficult months, others worry that it may be a short-lived honeymoon, as the Screen Actors Guild, whose support for the writers was instrumental in them getting a deal, begins what promises to be tense negotiations with producers in the coming week.