United Artists, the independent production unit of MGM controlled by actor Tom Cruise, is expected to soon finalize a deal with striking Hollywood writers modeled on the one made by producers for talk-show host David Letterman, the Los Angeles Times reports. United Artists will likely grant some key demands of the Writers Guild of America. The union hopes getting independent producers on board will help push the big studios back to the bargaining table.
MGM will benefit from the deal by getting some new films in the pipeline. But insiders say that MGM bosses don't plan to make any side deals with the guild themselves and that MGM chief Harry Sloan has been trying to talk Cruise and his producer Paula Wagner out of making a deal. An agreement could be signed as early as today.