It was a rare glimmer of light on an otherwise bleak Hollywood labor horizon.

Hollywood's five basic crafts unions and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers last week reached a tentative agreement on new three-year contracts affecting more than 6,000 workers. Drivers, plasterers, electrical, masons and utility workers are covered.


Meanwhile, the studios and the guilds that represent Hollywood's writers, actors and directors are preparing for all-out war.


It's likely the drivers and electricians would still be negotiating if they had to deal with the sticky issues the creative types do, such as residuals on the myriad emerging platforms.


Amid fears of a work stoppage by the Hollywood guilds next year, studios have been greenlighting more active projects than they were at the same time last year. The goal is to start production no later than March 1, so shooting can be completed by next July, when actors and directors could launch strikes.


Network brass also have been quietly planning for alternative lineups heavy on reality, sports and gameshows i.e., fare that doesn't require guild talent.


Although the Writers Guild of America's contract expires on Oct. 31, few expect a deal to emerge by then. In that case, it's likely the WGA will tell members to keep working under terms of the expired pact in hopes that the guild can achieve an improved deal after the directors and actors negotiate.


The most recent numbers from the Film L.A. permitting agency showed off-lot feature filming in the Los Angeles region surged 29 percent and TV work 19 percent in the second quarter to 2,514 and 5,387 days, respectively.


King Crowned

The CNN building in Hollywood and its surrounding streets are about to become Larry King Square.


In recognition of the longtime CNN anchor's achievements over his 50-year broadcasting career, the Los Angeles City Council voted to designate the street bounding the network's building at 6430 Sunset Blvd. Cahuenga Boulevard, Cole Place, Sunset Boulevard and DeLongpre Avenue as Larry King Square. The city's Transportation Bureau and Engineering Department have been charged with installing permanent ceremonial signs signage around the square.


It's been a busy few weeks for celebrity-designated streets: Councilmen Tom LaBonge and Tony Cardenas also proposed last week that the intersection at Melrose Avenue and Plymouth Boulevard be named "I Love Lucy Square," a motion that was referred to the City's Public Works Committee.


The renaming plans have been the source of some confusion and frustration among city workers, according to recent media reports. The name changes can lead to confusion when workers or tourists look at maps.


King's namesake show, "Larry King Live," debuted on CNN in June 1985, and is still on the air today, running as a mix of celebrity interviews, political debates and topical discussions. King has conducted sit-down interviews with every U.S. president since Gerald Ford, as well as the likes of Tony Blair, Queen Noor of Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Marlon Brando, Johnny Carson, L. Ron Hubbard, Michael Jordan and Malcolm X.


'Igor' Booked

Exodus Film Group has sealed a comic book deal with IDW Publishing for Exodus' CG-animated feature film "Igor" early this month.


IDW publishes an array of horror and licensed comic books, including the popular "Transformers," "24," and "CSI."


The publishing program for "Igor" will include a series of full color prequel titles leading up to another series of books taking fans through the film and beyond, followed by a full-color paperback collection.


"Igor" is a comedy that brings a twist to the classic monster genre, involving an evil scientist's hunchbacked lab assistant who has big dreams of becoming a mad scientist himself.


Weinstein Co. is handling worldwide distribution for the film, which is set for a wide theatrical release in October 2008.


Fishman Tribute

The top half of last Tuesday evening's edition of Prime News was dedicated to Hal Fishman, the longtime anchor for KTLA, who died early that day. The KTLA news staff members gave their tributes, and the outpouring was matched by fans: the broadcast was the top-rated program in Los Angeles during the 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. time slot.


"If something like this happened in any other business, people would be sent home to grieve," said Rich Goldner, KTLA's acting news director. "It was hard. (Tuesday's tribute program) was really a labor of love for everyone here."


Goldner said the station would take it "week by week" in finding interim anchors for the 10 p.m. newscast; Carlos Amezcua was first to substitute last week at the anchor desk.


Staff reporter Anne Riley-Katz can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 225, or at arileykatz@labusinessjournal.com .

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