03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Tom Cruise's United Artists Reaches Controversial Side Deal With WGA

SATURDAY UPDATE: I've just been told that the Hollywood/Big Media CEOs who belong to the AMPTP are furious at MGM chairman Harry Sloan for "allowing" this WGA-United Artists deal to go through.

FRIDAY NIGHT: This is big. This is BIG! Because WGA sources just told me that the guild has clinched an "Independent Agreement" with Tom Cruise's and Paula Wagner's re-started United Artists. This now means that small and struggling UA has a leg up on every other Hollywood studio because it will be able to hire the striking writers. wga.bmpThis is to date the first so-called side deal cut by the WGA with a movie studio since the strike began on November 3rd as part of the guild's newly articulated "divide and conquer" strategy. The WGA's first side deal with a production company was an "interim agreement" with David Letterman's Worldwide Pants which owns both The Late Show and the Late Late Show airing on CBS. Granted, given how tiny UA is -- only six executives -- and how limited their movie development can be, this is more of a symbolic than a significant development in the ongoing WGA strike.

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