January 7, 2008 / 3:58 AM / 10 years ago

Cruise's UA close to deal, Globes uncertain: sources

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A film company run by actor Tom Cruise was close to an agreement with the striking Writers Guild of America, while the Golden Globes awards show broadcast was uncertain, people close to the matter said on Sunday.

<p>File photo shows a picket sign from the Writers Guild of America is seen as members protest in front of NBC studios in Burbank, California, Jan. 2, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>

The deal between United Artists, owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and run by Cruise, would be a first for a movie company during the 2-month strike, but would be similar to a pact reached between the guild and Worldwide Pants Inc., the television production company owned by David Letterman.

The source said on condition of anonymity the United Artists deal could be announced as soon as Monday.

United Artists and WGA had no immediate comment.

Letterman, Jay Leno and other late-night TV talk show hosts returned to the air last week, but only Letterman and CBS talk show host Craig Ferguson had writing teams intact because of interim deals reached with the WGA.

Separately, sources said the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Golden Globes, was trying to persuade General Electric Co’s NBC to back off televising the awards gala next Sunday.

Variety reported that NBC appeared to be backing away from telecasting the awards show, but a person close to NBC told Reuters “a lot of scenarios were at play.”

The widely watched film and television honors gala is one of Hollywood’s biggest ceremonies before the Oscars in February.

The Screen Actors Guild has said nearly all its members would refuse to cross striking writers’ picket lines.

Writers went on strike in November, predominantly over the key issue of pay for work distributed on the Web.

Since talks between the studios and the guild broke down in December, the WGA has begun talking with various independent companies in the hope of reaching interim agreements.

A second person familiar with the United Artist talks cautioned the deal faced significant opposition from other Hollywood studios.

The agreement would benefit United Artists’ distributor and majority shareholder MGM by supplying it with films once they were produced. The Los Angeles Times, however, said MGM had tried to discourage Cruise and partner Paula Wagner from reaching such a deal.

On the Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press said it hoped to announce a resolution on Monday that would permit the awards show to take place with the creative community present.

“We have no announcement at this juncture,” NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks said Sunday.

Editing by Doina Chiacu

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