Christopher Keyser Defeats Patric Verrone for WGA West Presidency

“Party of Five” co-creator and his moderate agenda upset seasoned negotiator and former guild president who presided over the union during the strike

Christopher Keyser won the Writers Guild West presidency battle with former guild president Patric Verrone.

The "Party of Five" co-creator campaigned on a moderate agenda and won support from such key figures as outgoing president John Wells and "The Shield's" Shawn Ryan. During the campaign, he emphasized what he characterized as Verrone's polarizing tendencies.

Verrone, former guild president who presided over the union during the strike, was a feisty champion of the writers he often characterized as disempowered by the Hollywood chieftains. He had support from "Mad Men's" Matthew Weiner, screenwriter Paul Haggis, and a great many of the rank and file members of the Guild.

Keyser won with 60.2 percent of the 2,102 ballots cast. Also elected were Howard A. Rodman as Vice President, with 1,372, or 75 percent of the vote, and Secretary-Treasurer Carl Gottlieb with 50.3 percent of the vote. 

“I congratulate Patric on an excellent, positive and constructive campaign,” said Keyser in a statement. “Now I look forward to making real progress on all those issues – among them enforcement, engagement, organizing, communication and diversity – that have been the focus of this campaign.”

In a statement, Verrone said that he wished Keyser "the best of luck in rebuilding our union and I'm encouraging all my supporters to help in that task.”

In a posted statement during his campaign, Keyser said that he could "see evidence of what all of us, anecdotally, suspect is true: that erosion in our industry is real and it’s getting worse.  Fewer writers are working. Too few are working consistently.  And the gap between the majority of our members and our most successful few is growing.”

He noted that basic cable will be on the table in 2014, as will be jurisdiction over performance-capture. The de-coupling and freezing of the primetime network residual rate "means that we are likely to be under the pressure of rollbacks there.  New Media will also be on the table, with improving formulas and shortening the streaming window as a focus.”

That roster of issues was very much in contention during the 2008 writers’ strike, when Verrone was locked in an often acrimonious battle with the production companies.  It remains to be seen whether Keyser’s less fiery stance will ease the next set of negotiations.

The L.A. Times broke the news of Keyser's win.