Latest Update Re WGA vis a vis CAA and WME

Just in case you haven’t figured out the acroynyms, we’re talking about the ongoing negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the two large talent agencies who still haven’t signed an agreement that would let them represent WGA writers…like just about every other agency in the wonderful world of showbiz, large and small, has.

September 30, 2020
Dear Members,

We are writing to provide you with another update on where we stand in our negotiations with the remaining unfranchised agencies. In short: our conversations continue.

As we said in our email on September 1, WME and CAA “began this negotiation more deeply conflicted than other agencies” and “we cannot make a deal with them that undercuts the gains this campaign has achieved.” Our concerns with each of these agencies center on how they and their private equity investors will limit their ownership of production affiliates to 20% and how they will prove over time that they remain in compliance.

As you would expect, reaching agreement with the two agencies most conflicted in these ways requires the utmost care. We are, therefore, consulting experienced corporate merger and acquisition counsel. For there to be an agreement with CAA and WME, we must negotiate divestment terms that absolutely protect writers’ interests.

The next step for the two agencies, with which we are negotiating separately, is for them to disclose information we’ve requested on these topics:

  • The agencies’ and their investors’ current ownership of affiliated production entities;
  • The current direct or indirect ownership of the agencies, and the agreements that govern their relationship with entities such as Silverlake and TPG;
  • Copies of existing agreements between any affiliate production entity and its direct or indirect owners;
  • Copies of any certificates of incorporation or corporate bylaws or similar documents of the affiliated production entities.
This information will enable the Guild to evaluate any proposals WME or CAA may make regarding the changes necessary to bring them into compliance with the terms of the franchise agreement.

Thirty months ago, in April 2018, we notified the agencies of the need to renegotiate the AMBA. A year later, writers voted overwhelmingly to terminate the AMBA and all unfranchised agencies. Since then, we have negotiated nine successive versions of the franchise agreement to accommodate reasonable agency proposals between May 2019, when we signed Verve, and this past summer, when we signed UTA and ICM. Of their own choice, WME and CAA are the last agencies to come to the table. While we are currently engaged with both of them, it is imperative that we preserve our new franchise agreement’s guarantee of properly un-conflicted representation for all writers. Meanwhile, the Working Rule 23 order remains in effect with respect to both CAA and WME.

You can read the information request we sent to WME and CAA here. We will keep you apprised of our progress in getting these remaining agencies signed to our new franchise agreement.

In Solidarity,
WGA Agency Negotiating Committee

Chris Keyser, Co-Chair
David Shore, Co-Chair
Meredith Stiehm, Co-Chair
Lucy Alibar
John August
Angelina Burnett
Zoanne Clack
Kate Erickson
Jonathan Fernandez
Travon Free
Ashley Gable
Deric A. Hughes
Chip Johannessen
Michael Schur
Tracey Scott Wilson
Betsy Thomas
Patric M. Verrone
Nicole Yorkin
David A. Goodman, President WGAW, ex-officio
Marjorie David, Vice President WGAW, ex-officio
Michele Mulroney, Secretary-Treasurer WGAW, ex-officio
Beau Willimon, President WGAE, ex-officio
Kathy McGee, Vice President WGAE, ex-officio
Bob Schneider, Secretary-Treasurer WGAE, ex-officio

Author: LB

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world with a career going back to the late ’60s, Larry Brody has written and produced hundreds of hours of American and worldwide television and is a consultant to production companies and networks in the U.S. and abroad . Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and the Humanitas Award.