The standoff between the Writers Guild of America and Association of Talent Agencies is about to come to a head. As a brief recap, the WGA and the ATA are still battling over the issue of packaging. If the ATA doesn’t agree to a new code of conduct proposed by the WGA, writers could potentially fire their agents en masse. At midnight Saturday, the current agreement was set to expire, but writers agreed to a six day delay. The WGA has put in place means for all guild writers to fire their agents if and when the agreement expires. Sources close to Deadline say that no “formal talks” were scheduled Saturday, but Variety reported Saturday night that the WGA agreed to “wait until 12:01 am on April 13 to implement its new ‘code of conduct.’ ”
The agreement was negotiated by WGA West Executive Director David Young, showrunners David Shore and Mike Schur and screenwriter Michelle Mulroney on the writers side, and WME’s Rick Rosen, CAA’s Bryan Lourd, APA’s James Gosnell and ATA executive director Karen Stuart. The negotiations took place Saturday afternoon, and the results were announced two hours before the agreement was set to expire.
The beef between the WGA and ATA concerns packaging fees, the money agents get for selling creatives bundled together. If neither side flinches by midnight April 13, writers will be able to give permission to the WGA to sever ties with their agents. No one-on-one meetings need to happen, although writers certainly have that option. The Guild will also implement their Staffing Submission System that will endeavor to match Guild writers with staffing showrunners.