Letterman Looks To End Strikeby Contributor | 17 December 2007
Talkshow host David Letterman is looking to broker an interim agreement with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) that would allow his show to return to TV.
The Late Show with David Letterman has been off the air since early November as US writers' industrial action continues, but it is believed the late-night presenter's production company Worldwide Pants is pursuing an interim settlement with the WGA.
The writers have been on strike for seven weeks, after the collapse of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) regarding the appropriate remuneration for their work when it appears on DVD or the internet.
But the guild has now indicated that it might strike a deal with Worldwide Pants to allow The Late Show - and fellow CBS production The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson - to return to TV.
"Since the beginning of the strike, we have expressed our willingness to sign an interim agreement with the guild consistent with its positions in this dispute," said Rob Burnett, chief executive of Worldwide Pants.
"We're happy that the guild has now adopted an approach that might make this possible. It is our strong desire to be back on the air with our writers and we hope that will happen as soon as possible."
CBS issued a hesitant response to Worldwide Pants' attempt to secure a deal.
"We respect the intent of Worldwide Pants to serve the interests of its independent production company and its employees by seeking this interim agreement with the WGA," a CBS representative said.
"However, this development should not confuse the fact that CBS remains unified with the AMPTP and committed to working with the member companies to reach a fair and reasonable agreement with the WGA."
The AMPTP has today issued a statement of unity in response to the WGA's alleged "divide and conquer strategy" of negotiating with individual studios.
It said their "common goal" was "to reach a fair and just agreement with writers and get back to work".
The statement was signed by Peter Chernin of Fox, Brad Grey of Paramount, Disney president Robert A Iger, Sony's Michael Lynton, Warner's Barry M Meyers, CBS president Leslie Moonyes, MGM's Harry Sloan and Jeff Zucker of NBC Universal.