Lionsgate deal with writers imminent: source

Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:30pm EST
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An interim production deal between striking Hollywood writers and the Lionsgate film and television studio is imminent, said to source close to the talks on Thursday.

Another person familiar with the negotiations said a deal was likely on either Thursday or Friday.

The Lionsgate Gate Entertainment Corp deal would be the third such pact reached by an independent film and television maker with striking members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in an ongoing labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

Earlier this month, United Artists, the film production house backed by Tom Cruise, broke with parent studio Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer Inc, to reach a deal enabling striking Hollywood writers to work on his company's movies.

A few days after the United Artists deal, The Weinstein Co, the film and TV company run by media moguls Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob Weinstein, reached a deal allowing striking writers to return to work for the company.

Some 10,500 writers represented by the union went on strike against major film and TV studios on November 5, throwing the television industry into disarray, disrupting various film projects and casting a shadow of Hollywood's awards season.

Representatives of the WGA and the AMPTP went back to the table to begin informal discussions this week for the first time since their contract talks collapsed on December 7.

The "informal discussions" are aimed at laying the groundwork for official bargaining to resume. A recent labor deal between the studios and Hollywood directors is expected to be a centerpiece of those talks.

(Reporting by Sue Zeidler; Editing by Andre Grenon)

 
<p>Supporters and members of the Writers Guild of America picket outside the News Corp building in New York, December 4, 2007. An interim production deal between striking Hollywood writers and the Lionsgate film and television studio is imminent, said to source close to the talks on Thursday. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>