Real-Life Drama: Three of the big four talent agencies have filed antitrust lawsuits against the Writers Guild. The union’s Los Angeles office is pictured.

Real-Life Drama: Three of the big four talent agencies have filed antitrust lawsuits against the Writers Guild. The union’s Los Angeles office is pictured.

Writers Guild of America West members handily reelected David Goodman as president, sending a strong message of support for the union’s battle against major talent agencies.

Goodman directed union members to fire their talent agents in April.

The screenwriter, whose credits include the “Golden Girls” TV show, garnered 4,395 votes, or 76% of all 5,809 ballots cast, to win a two-year term.

He trounced challenger Phyllis Nagy, who received 22% of the vote. Nagy, who wrote the Oscar-nominated “Carol,” led a group of challengers who sought to reopen negotiations with the agencies.

The guild also voted down challengers who followed Nagy's lead, according to tallies provided by the WGA.

Michele Mulroney cruised to victory over Nagy ally Nick Jones in the secretary-treasurer election. Board members aligned with Goodman, including Meredith Stiehm, Luvh Rakhe and Liz Alper, also were easily voted in.

Fifty-eight percent of eligible voters cast ballots.

The resounding support for incumbent leadership could mean little change in the standoff between writers and agents.

Goodman directed thousands of writers to fire their agents because major agencies would not agree to end their practice of packaging talent to studios and dabbling in their own productions.

The mass firing occurred after a 43-year agreement dictating the relationship between screenwriters and their agents expired.

Goodman has since refused to negotiate with talent agencies unless they drop the use of packaging fees and affiliate production.

The dispute is mired in litigation with four separate lawsuits pending in federal court.

One suit filed by the WGA contends that packaging fees constitute a breach of fiduciary duty by talent agencies. Lawsuits filed separately by Creative Artists Agency, Endeavor and United Talent Agency contend the Writer’s Guild is in violation of antitrust law.

Media and entertainment reporter Matthew Blake can be reached at (323) 556-8332 or mblake@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him at @mattpennyblake.

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