The Writers Guild of America’s bid to divide-and-conquer the Hollywood studios isn’t dead. Variety is reporting the WGA has reached a deal with United Artists, a studio with a storied name that was revived in late 2006 when Tom Cruise and partner Paula Wagner took ownership after they were dumped from Paramount by Sumner Redstone.
The deal means the WGA has UA and David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants under contract, meaning Dave and his writers can write jokes, and Cruise can advance his film slate. But these deals are symbolic at best. The WGA’s Letterman deal hasn’t yet caused NBC U much pain in late night (Letterman is still behind NBC’s Leno in the ratings), and UA is tiny, making about one picture per year.
So which studio will the WGA pick off next? Former WGA attorney Jonathan Handel predicts the WGA will go for a mini-major like The Weinstein Company or Lionsgate to make a deal. Either of these studios could do a deal and lock up Hollywood’s best writers for their film and TV projects and truly inflict some pain on the big five studios.
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