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WGA Reaches Agreement with CBS Over Soap Opera Webisodes

The East and West Coast branches of the Writers Guild of America have reached an agreement with CBS covering the writing of “webisode” online content for the daytime serials As the World Turns and The Young and The Restless.

The WGA says the deal provides “a flexible framework for future online, mobile-content and other new technology deals within the entertainment industry”—referring to upcoming contract negotiations with Hollywood that could start as early as this summer.

But industry executives say they see the pact as being specifically related to the two soaps, which have an upcoming joint storyline that will play out online, rather than as a template for a new overall deal.

“We are pleased to have worked with CBS to develop a fair compensation model for this new media platform,” WGA West Executive Director David Young said in a statement. “By coming together to reach this forward-looking agreement, we’ve helped insure that the stories created by writers for this new medium will continue to maintain the creative integrity of original network programming.”

This WGA-CBS agreement relates to the guild’s efforts to cover writing services for new media.  In addition to initial compensation, the WGA says the new deal provides benefits and protections that include minimums, residuals in all markets (including reuse for new media, television, cable, and DVD), pension and health coverage, and writing credit provisions.