As we head into yet another day of contract negotiations between the AMPTP and WGA, the chances of a resolution to the strike by Christmas seem to have gone from slim to none.
Publicly, the AMPTP has appeared more conciliatory this week, and there have been reports of dissension in the ranks of moguls. But could all this just be more subterfuge meant to mislead the press and the writers while the AMPTP continues to play hardball behind the scenes? Hollywood Today thinks so. So does Deadline Hollywood Daily‘s Nikki Finke, who’s predicting that the AMPTP has no real intention of bargaining and, in fact, plans to quit the talks and then blame the stalemate on the WGA–possibly as soon as today.
Last week the AMPTP retained the elite crisis management firm of Fabiani and Lehane, a sign that the moguls may be shoring up for a lengthy and increasingly nasty battle. And they still have yet to deliver the promised second half of last week’s new media proposal, or a response to the counter-proposal released by the WGA earlier this week.
So while the AMPTP continues to insist publicly that they are “committed to making a fair and reasonable deal” the truth seems to be that they have yet to engage in any real bargaining or to deliver on any of their promises. In fact, one week after they first touted their self-proclaimed “New Economic Partnership,” they still haven’t released any details to back up the supposed $130 million in additional compensation they claimed to be offering.
If the strike does drag on past Christmas, it’s looking likelier that the Director’s Guild may begin early negotiations with the AMPTP on their own contract. Such a move would undermine the WGA because any contract settlement with the DGA would set a precedent that the writers would essentially have to follow. Meanwhile, Wall Street firm Natixis Bleichroeder has said that it will cut its earnings forecast on media conglomerates if the strike lasts into 2008, and predicted that the strike could cost ABC, CBS and Fox as much as $100 million of revenue each.