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Lionsgate, the plucky indie studio who mined the untold box office potential of film franchises featuring a creepy marionette on a tricycle and an equally creepy actor in grandma drag, has forged its own side deal with the WGA:

"Lionsgate is considered a leader in the industry and its signing an interim agreement again confirms that it is possible for writers to be compensated fairly and respectfully for their work and for companies to operate profitably," said WGA West prexy Patric M. Verrone and WGA East prexy Michael Winship.

After the jump: The fates of Mad Men and Weeds hang in the balance!

And the timing of the deal is particularly good for Lionsgate's TV biz; the indie's Showtime comedy "Weeds" would normally be gearing up for pre-production right about now, and its understood that the company had hoped to begin prepping the second season of its much-praised AMC drama "Mad Men" as early as last November.

Whether Lionsgate's arrangement will result in the same kind of first-studio-to-cave bounty piled upon United Artists, with a WGA-branded dumptruck beeping its way backwards and unloading a small mountain of cheap-to-produce, Jessica Alba-friendly screenplays at their front doors, the tides of this industry-eviscerating tidal wave at least appear to be inching backwards. If nothing else, audiences suffering distended remote-control thumbs from a season of TV malnourishment can feast on the sweet, life-giving properties of a freshly baked batch of Mary-Louise Parker's signature brownies, washed down with a replenishing glass of scotch from the decanter sitting on Jon Hamm's desk.