Informal talks to begin between WGA, studio moguls | EW.com

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Informal talks to begin between WGA, studio moguls

Is this the beginning of the end? A source close to the conglomerates confirmed today that two moguls — possibly Fox CEO Peter Chernin and Disney CEO Bob Iger — will meet with key Writers Guild of America reps in hopes of bringing an end to the nearly three-month old labor dispute. Today’s talks come after a weekend full of back-channel discussions between the moguls and WGA power hitters after the DGA closed a three-year deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Thursday. “This is all patterned after the DGA negotiations,” the source said about today’s meeting, “in which smaller groups held informal talks to try to break the logjam on key issues and set a framework for formal negotiations.”

If the blogosphere is any indication, a major sticking point could involve “ad-supported streaming,” i.e. the amount of money the writers generate when their shows run on the network websites. The DGA agreed to a deal that would pay them up to $1,200 for streaming a drama over 12 months, a residual that kicks in only after the network is allowed to debut the series for free on its website for up to three weeks. WGA strike captain Alfredo Barrios complained about that structure on UnitedHollywood.com. “As TV reruns become Internet reruns — and as anyone who owns a computer can attest, it’s happening now — our residual payments are obliterated,” Barrios stated, “That’s why this proposal is characterized by many as a massive rollback. Remember, this is what we were fighting to avoid.”