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In The Trades: Writers, Talkers, Cross Words

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The Writers Co-Op, a sort of joint venture for screenwriters, has gotten 19 top scripters to sign up. John Wells has offered office space and staff support for the production entity, and Warners has offered a first look deal to the Co-Op. Writers will take cuts in their high upfront salaries for the reward of receiving first-dollar gross, the right to participate as producers and a guarantee they will not be rewritten without their consultation and approval, and will get imput all the way from development to post-production. Since the parties involved are all A-listers, many of whom also direct, they’ll want to write commercial projects that will net the Co-Op producers’ fees as well as their own shares of the gross, so the reasoning goes.

Bunim-Murray, the reality (Real World, Road Rules) titans, are moving into theatrical documentary, under Sasha Alpert’s guidance. First film out is Autism: The Musical.

Margaret Thatcher is the subject of a BBC Films feature, to be produced by Damian Jones. Helen Mirren, get ready!

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Steven Bochco enters the online community with Cafe Confidential, a sort of tell-all show with real people telling all about various subjects. Metacafe hosts the series.

Dolemite returns to the big screen. Rudy Ray Moore, created the characrter and will EP the film with Bill Fishman directing. No casting announcements yet.

Merv Griffin Entertainment’s newest game show, Let’s Play Crosswords, has cleared enough TV markets for a 2007-08 debut. It’s a return to quality, according to execs.

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