... With no advance fanfare, CBS Corp. supremo Leslie Moonves broke bread with WGA leaders Patrick Verrone and David Young on Friday. The trio, along with CBS labor relations chief Harry Isaacs, had dinner at a private dining room inside the Four Seasons Hotel.
Both the Moonves dinner and the off-the-record chats are being interpreted as hopeful signs that the two parties will restart formal talks soon ...
... the informal writer-mogul meetings are going "in a positive direction" enough so that it's beginning to look possible for the Academy Awards to proceed normally. Friday's was an especially productive session, I've learned. "I feel optimistic. In my opinion, today was productive and collaborative and respectful. I thought it was a very good day," an insider told me ...
Me, I think there's a 65-70% chance that the WGA reaches an agreement in the next few weeks. The studios/AMPTP will give the scribes a slightly different deal than the DGA, but the overall bucket of money will be pretty much the same. (The way it mostly works is, AMPTP says: "Here's the amount of cash we have to work with, how do you want it divvied up?" Then the parties go into side bar and commence divvying.)
Assuming current talks don't blow up, the WGAw/e reaches its deal by February or early March. Then the tub-thumping to sell it will start, one faction grousing about "cave-in" and "selling out", another group saying "Let's ratify this pup and go back to work." And the Screen Actors Guild will have minimal leverage for any job action it might be contemplating.
Even now the Directors Guild is trumpeting its own sweet deal:
"This has been a great achievement for the DGA," said DGA president Michael Apted. "Ten days ago we reached a tentative agreement with the studios and today the Board approved it unanimously. We achieved our three primary goals: jurisdiction in new media, which was absolutely essential; compensation for the use and reuse of our work in new media; and significant gains on issues of real importance for our work in traditional media."
I'll be ecstatic when the town is fully back at work, a sentiment no doubt shared by a lot of unemployed film workers.