WGA lets Leno off the hook for strike breaking

by Paul William Tenny

WGA StrikeJay Leno may be out of the woods when it comes to discipline from the Writers Guild for violating the 2007-2008 strike, but somehow I doubt anyone is going to forget what he did.

More so than writing for a company being struck, he threatened to quit the WGA if he had to, in order to write for NBC during the strike. And now his vanity show at 10pm is responsible for putting a number of potential writers out of work by eliminating five hours of scripted programming per week.

I understand the point that Leno is making about how well his writers are paid and how many his show will carry, but ultimately that's not really persuasive. Those are comedy writers he's talking about, they are not drop-in replacements for scripted programming writers and regardless of how big Leno's staff is, it's not going to be bigger than the combined writing staff you'd need to feed five different shows.

The truth is that Leno violated the spirit of the strike by going back to work while real writers were talking picket lines and losing their homes, and he doesn't even care. It doesn't matter if he got a permission slip from the WGA, that only covers violating the "letter of the law".

What matters more -- perhaps not to Leno, but to everyone else -- was paying token lip service to the strike when it was easy to do so, and then going back to work and collecting a fat paycheck once NBC wanted it's money maker back on the air.

And then being a willing participant in the evaporation of five hours of programming and five shows worth of people -- hundreds of people across the entire production of each show -- that he had stabbed in the back in 2008. First he turned his back on them when they struck for a fair contract, and now he's outright taken their jobs. I imagine a lot of people are going to be rooting against Leno's vanity show.
in Labor, Television


Related posts:

Leave a comment

View more stories by visiting the archives.

Media Pundit categories