UTA, the entertainment industry’s third largest talent agency, has signed an agreement with the Writers Guild of America, the agency stated Wednesday in a letter to clients. Earlier, a source had informed The Hollywood Reporter of the deal and, on Tuesday night, multiple sources had said talks were in progress.
The agreement, although a compromise in certain aspects, marks a victory for the WGA that may presage an end to the ongoing battle between the guild and the major agencies. WME, CAA and UTA remain locked in federal litigation against the guild, with both sides asserting antitrust claims against the other.
UTA and the WGA will dismiss their cases against each other as part of the deal. The agreement came after UTA co-president Jay Sures reached out to the WGA several months ago seeking to resolve the deadlock, THR has learned.
In a note to members Wednesday (read it below or here), the Writers Guild of America West wrote: “The UTA agreement extends the packaging sunset date to June 30, 2022; until then packaging is only permitted with the informed consent of the writer. The agency can have up to a 20% non-controlling ownership of a production company.” The guild had no comment other than to provide a copy of the letter.
The four largest agencies — WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners — had been steadfast in their refusal to sign with the WGA, as the guild’s 2019 agency agreement largely prohibits packaging fees and affiliate production, both of which are business practices key to the large agency model. UTA holds only a minority interest in its affiliated production entity, less than 20 percent, while that cap may be less palatable to WME and CAA. Meanwhile, under the new agreement, new packaging will end in two years, but only if the WGA reaches a similar agreement with one of the other major talent agencies. Existing packages will continue in force, THR is told.
Full Content: Hollywood Reporter