Tom Cruise Out To "Settle" Writers' Strike?

Here at CES mega digital distribution deals are making headlines. Back in LA, the big news is still the writers strike--and surprise, the big news in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles are totally entwined. The writers are striking to get a bigger chunk of the revenue from the very digital deals announced at CES.

Lots of action today in strike land. Rumors have been swirling that the Golden Globes are cancelled--though last I heard it hasn't been confirmed. But there are some behind-the-scenes talks happening today that could move strike negotiations forward.

The Writers Guild is expected to announce an interim deal with United Artists, the studio partly owned by MGM and recently revived by Tom Cruise and his producing partner Paula Wagner. Similar to the deal Letterman made for his company and the WGA, this would let the fledgling studio develop and rewrite scripts.

Why would Cruise break with the ranks of the other studios? Well, though MGM does have a stake in UA, UA itself isn't a member of the AMPTP, the producers association. Some say it's because Cruise is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and he feels an affinity with the labor issues. Others would point out that UA's first movie, Lions for Lambs, was a huge disappointment despite its all-star cast--so UA could use to get back to work.

Also today, the directors guild is sitting down with the producers association to renegotiate their contract that expires June 30. If they do strike a deal, it would encourage the writers to sit down for more negotiations. And, a directors guild compromise with the producers would likely be used as a model for contracts for the Writers and Screen Actors Guilds. Now you can bet all of Hollywood is hoping the directors can make some progress.

Questions? Comments?