William Schmidt Drops Bid for WGA West Presidency, Supports Phyllis Nagy

William Schmidt has dropped out of the race for the WGA West presidency and support Phyllis Nagy against incumbent WGA West president David Goodman in the upcoming election.

Schmidt, whose credits include “Yellowstone,” “Outsiders” and “Charmed,” has campaigned for the past two months in opposition to Goodman’s directive for members to fire their agents if they had not signed the WGA Code of Conduct. At least 7,000 agents have been fired.

Schmidt made the announcement Wednesday night at the guild’s candidates meeting at the Writers Guild Theatre in Beverly Hills. He admitted that he and Nagy did not receive a positive response, adding, “It was pretty ugly.”

Schmidt, a 37-year member of the guild, and Nagy are running against Goodman in an election that’s widely seen as a referendum on the WGA’s hard-nose tactics versus a more accommodating approach. Ballots go out Aug. 29 and results will be announced Sept. 16.

“We have a candidate who is brilliant, bold, rational,” he said. “A good and decent person who can lead us out of this quagmire, and back to unity and full strength. Who started a Go Fund Me page and raised $50,000 to get some of those casualties, six young families, their health care back, for no other reason than it was the right thing to do. I’m talking about a born leader. Phyllis Nagy.”

Nagy is leading the Writers Forward Together slate, which has campaigned on a platform that the WGA needs to re-launch negotiations with the Association of Talent Agents. She’s warned against the guild going into negotiations next year with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers without an agency franchise deal.

“She is conversant with every issue facing film and TV writers,” Schmidt said. “And there is no daylight between what she believes and what I believe. I deeply admire her quiet strength. She has the goods to knock out great deals with the ATA and the AMPTP.”

Goodman announced on June 20 that the guild had called off negotiations with the ATA in favor of pursuing individual talks with nine top agencies as it enforces a total ban on packaging fees and affiliated production for agents representing guild members. A trio of mid-size agencies — Verve, Buchwald and Kaplan Stahler — have signed agreements in recent months.

Popular on Variety