136 posts in the Labor Category

SAG and DGA bend over with a smile, WGA next?

Both the actors and directors unions went quietly in the night in recent labor talks, will the writers do the same, or are they itching for another disruptive strike?
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Is the WGA-East itching for another strike?

If Variety is to be believed, some elements within the Writers Guild of America-East may be itching for another strike.

Hollywood unions strangely absent from health care debate

Some unions are making ground on exempting themselves from health care reform taxes, or at least improving the terms.
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WGA lets Leno off the hook for strike breaking

Jay Leno has been absolved of strike breaking after he returned to writing during a strike. Yeah, I don't get it either.

Writers' earnings plummet 18% in 2008

According to the Writers Guild, pay for writers suffered a steep decline in 2008 due at least partially to a strike, down nearly 18% across film and television, the second year in a row TV saw a falloff in pay.
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Accusations of lying between John Wells and John Bowman

Accusations between WGA Presidential candidate John Wells, and former neg-com chair John Bowman, and an attempt to erase at least some of it from history.
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WGA changed the wrong voting standards

The WGA recently voted to amend its qualifications for voting, but in doing so ignored the most obvious change: regular voting as a requirement for maintaining membership.

Ed Harris adds to growing opposition to SAG contract

Ed Harris has let his thoughts be known in a video opposing the tentative SAG contract, and he's sounding a lot like the writers did right before they struck the AMPTP.
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SAG's new leadership a lot like the old

Almost a year after their contract with the studios expired, the new "United for Strength" faction running SAG has the guild anything but united.

Writers settle unfair working conditions lawsuit

Writers and several networks and studios have settled a lawsuit over unpaid overtime and unfair working conditions prohibited by California law.

SaveTheBiz produces anti-strike vid

A group of SAG members calling itself SaveTheBiz has produced a video that opposes a potential strike.

SAG delays strike authorization vote

The Screen Actors Guild notified their membership late Monday night that the January 2nd strike authorization vote would be postponed in lieu of a national board meeting in the 12th and 13th.

A SAG state of things

The sorry state of labor unity is laid bare as the regional New York board is demanding an emergency meeting of the national board to avert a strike auth vote they had previously supported.

Screen Actors Guild sets strike vote for Jan. 2

The Screen Actors Guild has set the date of January 2nd for their strike authorization vote.

SAG summary and WGA starts legal action against AMPTP

A summary of the past month's labor news, including the WGA filing legal arbitration against the AMPTP for not honoring the 2008 MBA.
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Here we go again -- SAG asking for strike vote

The Screen Actors Guild has announced that a federal mediator has failed to work out a solution, will seek strike authorization vote.

While you were sleeping

Bush the movie does well but Max Payne wins the weekend; SAG calls for a federal mediator to intervene; The Sarah Connor Chronicles gets a full season; THE DEBATES ARE FINALLY OVER!

WGA tells Fremantle to get lost

The WGA has ordered writers not to work on a new show by Fremantle Media and Fox for Ozzy Osborne over Fremantle's refusal to cover their writers under a full WGA contract.
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WGA pickets new Tyler Perry studio after controversial firings of four writers

The WGA has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing Tyler Perry of illegally firing four writers for trying to unionize.
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SAG negotiators urge board to call a strike vote

The Screen Actors Guild negotiating committee has urged the national board to take a strike authorization vote to the membership.

Studios Reject SAG's Request for New Talks

Three months after the studios best "final offer", SAG's request to open new talks is rejected flatly. Is a strike near?

WGA reaffirms support of SAG, claims AMPTP fraud

According to the regional leadership of the Writers Guild, the AMPTP is already playing accounting games with the new media contract.
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Aaron Sorkin was a member of the "cave first" faction

Aaron Sorkin in an interview with GQ revealed that he was a member of a tiny writers faction that wanted the WGA to accept the DGA deal before he even got to read it.
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Unity is an AFTRA thought

AFTRA ratifies its shitty contract; world laughs that it only passed by 62%.
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Hollywood CEO on SAG talks: "Don't bother me"

Nikki Finke posts her second piece on the SAG/AMPTP talks and paints an ugly picture of childish, bored CEOs who can't be bothered with such tiny things.
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DHD publishes part 1 of SAG/AMPTP series

Taking a look at the first part in a three-part series on the SAG/AMPTP negotiations as written by Nikki Finke for Deadline Hollywood.
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SAG seeks contract extension, gets owned by Judge

SAG is ordered by a judge to stop suing advertisers in disputes over health and pension fund contribs; seeks extension to contract expiring in 5 days.
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SAG and AMPTP deadlocked with strike in sight

Negotiations between SAG and AMPTP haven't amounted to much, and with the new fall season in full production and Comic-Con coming up in a few weeks, are we in for another strike?
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Scribes walk off Sony show over labor jurisdiction

Writers who were working without a contract in good faith have walked off production of a Sony/Fox show after being promised WGA coverage, only to have it denied.
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WGA outs fi-core writers

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has published a list of writers that went fi-core during the 2007-2008 writers strike.

Jeff Zucker says a SAG strike will end Hollywood

Jeff Zucker is telling advertisers that Hollywood will end if SAG strikes, nuking television while films will magically survive unscathed.
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SAG strike won't kill our Heroes

SyFy Portal starts a rumor that a SAG strike could kill off Heroes. The article itself has very little in the way of evidence to back up its imaginative claims.

SAG and AFTRA get a divorce

SAG and AFTRA get a divorce, while SAG sets a date for talks with the studios. Will they strike, or make a deal?
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'My Name is Earl' creator spent strike on virtual vacation

I'm kind of tired of writing about L.A. labor issues; I'm as ready to get on with other things as much as you're surely sick of reading about this stuff, but there's still some things worth talking about before we magically forget all of this ever happened a few weeks from now. It's easy to move on like that when you didn't have your ass (car, house, livelihood, etc) on the line as so many of these people did....

SAG may still be itching for a fight

You had to figure that SAG was going to rattle its own saber a little bit after the WGA was ready to wrap things up -- which still has not happened by the way -- to make the AMPTP nervous about their own contract negotiations that could happen anytime between now and June. I kind of feel sorry for the AMPTP, maybe just a little bit, since they have to do this three times whereas the labor unions only have to go through this once each. That's immediately destroyed though with their atrocious behavior over the past 3.5 months so screw them, let 'em cry over their $30 million-per-year paychecks.SAG members will reportedly strike this summer after their current contract...

Who 'won' the strike?

Yeah, I've seen that question asked rhetorically in the titles of a number of blog posts and MSM stories since the middle of last week too. The contract hasn't even been ratified yet and fools such as myself are going out declaring winners like this was a sporting contest rather than a labor "negotiation", although it really was neither of those things most of the time. The answer is actually an easy one to find, but you've got to figure out who was in the dominant bargaining position first.The plaintiff in a lawsuit is in the dominant position, and I'll stretch that analogy a bit here in a minute to explain what I mean. But honestly, I think the answer...

Interview with Chip Proser (Adopt a Writer)

A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for a project to interview striking writers, to give them the same kind of publicity that the studios and networks get by default from their parent corporations owning all of the largest newspapers and TV stations -- basically they own the media we depend on to get "fair and balanced" news.What follows is my interview with veteran jack-of-all-trades writer, director, producer, and everything else you can imagine, Chip Proser. who has been busy for much of the last three months working a cause that he deeply believes in....

Yes, it's finally over. Kind of.

The strike was called off by vote yesterday, which naturally happened while I was fending off an army of angry midgets with pitchforks that were laying siege to my little island of the Internet damned (it rained, then it was sunny, and finally, it snowed.) The reason I say "kind of" is that while the strike was called off and all writers are now formally allowed to go back to work (if they have work to go back to, and lets not forget that well over half of them do not) they will be working without a contract.It'll be a week or possibly two before the vote on the contract will come down and while it seems extremely unlikely that...

This strike ain't over yet

Sorry to break the bad news to you all, the strike isn't over yet. It won't be over today, and may not be over tomorrow. You wouldn't know it by all these deceptive and downright false headlines I found with a quick glance this morning, every single one of them wrong:The WGA Strike is Over - The Movie BlogHollywood Writers Strike Comes to an End - Hollywood.comWGA Strike Over - Buddy TVI assure you that the strike is not over, and arguably has not even coming to an end. This process entails four separate votes in succession over the course of more than a week, and we're only half way through. Any single vote that comes down as no can...

WGA membership meetings tonight

The WGA-West is going to be holding their membership meeting to discuss -- not vote on -- the deal summary in a couple of hours, one that looks to have good points, bad points, and is every bit the result of trying to deal honestly with snake oils salesman. Deadline Hollywood has lots of "insider" coverage that is about as trustworthy as promises from the AMPTP. From what I understand, you only give a source anonymity when there's no other way to get that information. You don't give it just because someone wants to say something and not have their name attached, either because it will make them look bad, or because once you know who it is, you'll know...

Yep, the strike still isn't over.

Apparently I'm not the only person who thinks Michael Eisner is talking out of his ass today. Despite the fact a deal hasn't even been presented to the membership, much less has it been ratified, Eisner is running around the financial cable news channels declaring that the strike is already over. Everybody can go home now, get back to work, and stop being so dirty and disagreeable with their corporate masters."It's over," Eisner said. "They made the deal, they shook hands on the deal. It's going on Saturday to the writers in general." .. "A deal has been made, and they'll be back to work very soon," Eisner said, adding, "I know a deal's been made. I know it's over."Respectfully...

More blaming the victim from The Movie Blog

There may not be much posted here today (the 6th) because of weather conditions that will effectively knock out my internet connection for the better part of the day and night, so I'm posting a few things early and mostly whatever I can come up with in the next hour or so. Real quickly, with everyone holding their breath waiting to see how the talks between the WGA and AMPTP are going to end, John Campea went and stuck his foot in his mouth for what feels like the 50th time....

Pay no attention to the boring labor negotiations

According to wire reports, there are going to be meetings this weekend where the WGA might present a deal to the membership -- the one they've been working on over the past week and supposedly have made great progress on. To clarify a little bit, this meeting was previously scheduled and was not called for any reason related to what is going on right now.That it may be used to present a contract is coincidental, and possible, not hardly guaranteed. At the very least though, the membership should be briefed about how things are going, how much work there is left to be done, and that news will undoubtedly leak out to us shortly thereafter....

Scabs or just inaccurate reporting?

Along with obvious and inevitable rumors that character X would get his or her own spin-off movie after appearing in movie Y, I raise a certain uncomfortable question where the answer is going to suck either way. Let me explain; you can see the rumor that Venom of Spider-Man 3 -- which I just saw this weekend and didn't was all that great -- would be getting his own flick just about everywhere on the entertainment blogs over the past few days, but I don't see anybody asking the obvious question that ought to follow this statement:...

No news is good news

There isn't much news related to the strike today, contrary to what you keep reading elsewhere. Both sides are still hashing out a deal, and will still be working on it tomorrow, and the next day, and so on until it's actually done. After that, the membership will still have to take time to read it, understand it, debate it, and then vote on it.The big difference between what the DGA did, and what the WGA is doing, is the DGA agreed on a deal that hasn't been finalized, and won't actually be voted on by their membership until this summer, around the time their current deal expires. The WGA doesn't have to wait, and won't wait. Once they've got...

Variety ratches up the pressure on the WGA, talk about inappropriate actions..

You had to figure there would be some sort of blowback from the DGA being accused by everyone and their cousin of being weak, and signing a bad deal for their membership. I don't really think it's warranted since their deal is probably the best one they've ever signed in the unions existence, which actually says a lot about the indirect benefits of a strong stance by the WGA. That is to say that -- and this isn't grand standing or face-saving -- the WGA forced the AMPTP to talk about issues they refused to even discuss at the outset, and by standing strong on those issues, became a sort of leverage for the DGA to get at least some...
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News Summary

I'm going to summarize a few things, then drop in a few more posts before the Super Bowl starts. Hopefully if I can stop being a lazy SOB, I'll get back to normal posting on Monday, or even later tonight. There will probably be a lot of small stuff mixed in this post, so don't just gloss over it from your feed reader....

Voices from the strike

Many apologies for not posting anything since Thursday; there hasn't been any real "reportable" progress on the talks between the AMPTP and the WGA, which is kind of what I had expected would happen. The chances that the DGA's deal with big media was going to be close enough to settle on something similar within a few days were nearly nonexistent. There probably is a lot of good stuff in that pact, but as SAG has recently said, without actually seeing the contract in all its glory, nobody can really say for sure.There are enough areas of concern that were not adequately addressed in the press releases to foresee a less combative, yet still contentious negotiations going forward. Regardless...
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Uniontown news

It's been an eventful month with the Directors Guild of America (DGA) making a soft deal with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), and SAG trying as hard as possible to get away from AFTRA which AFTRA clearly doesn't want. Kind of strange, that relationship -- AFTRA doesn't respect the SAG's logical position that voting rights should be relative to income earned, as it is with the WGA-East and WGA-West, yet they don't want this split to happen and will probably sue to try to stop it from happening....
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The DGA deal is a good start

Chances are I won't have any net access on the 19th because of weather, so I'm just jotting this down tonight (the 18th) for everyone to read tomorrow. Just a thought or two about the DGA deal -- primarily being that a lot of "moderates" seem to be extremely happy with the deal and though I've not actually seen it, many of them are undoubtedly going to pressure the leadership to take whatever the childish AMPTP offers them.Honestly, I think that's dumb....
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WGA signs landmark digital deal

I call this a landmark digital deal because the interim agreement may the first step towards changing how television is created and then delivered to viewers. Doug Liman has founded a startup called Jackson Bites to foster out-of-industry development of online entertainment."If the last strike is best remembered for the studios attempting to show they could create programming without writers, this could be the strike where the writers show they can do it without the studios," said Liman. "We are at a moment of opportunity in television where we have gone from three networks to six, and from a handful of channels to a thousand and YouTube. In that environment, what matters is compelling programming -- and compelling programming starts...

The DGA deal is neither here, nor there

You'll be reading a lot about the DGA deal over the coming days, but here's a few things I can tell you about it right now: it's the dreaded neither here nor there kind of deal, and it reflects very badly on the AMPTP.The deal has wage gains which are great, and zero rollbacks. The AMPTP started their negotiations with the WGA with so many big rollbacks on the table that the entire idea of even talking was pointless, yet when they went to their favorite bedfellows, they treated them with respect. Even when the AMPTP walked away from the table for the second time, they were still demanding unacceptable rollbacks that apparently were never delivered to the DGA.The actions...

DGA and AMPTP make deal, will the writers follow?

The DGA in their typical pacifist avoiding-confrontation-at-all-costs style of bowing down to corporate greed has signed a deal with the AMPTP after "negotiating" for just six days, well over five months before their contract even expires. Note to the DGA: taking whatever deal the AMPTP tells you to isn't really negotiating.Just to clear up some retardedly obvious Variety spin:The DGA deal amps up the pressure from all sides on the leadership of the Writers Guild of America, which has been out on strike since Nov. 5. Its last negotiations with the AMPTP collapsed on Dec. 7 with the congloms demanding that the guild drop six of its proposals.In reality, this puts significant pressure on the AMPTP to bargain with the...

SAG and AFTRA may divorce

When I said the other day that the differences between SAG and AFTRA were such that they should just stop pretending they still want to bargain together, and just end their relationship so AFTRA can see how much it sucks going it alone.To be quite honest, while I believed it would have been for the best, I won't pretend that I understand the complexities of their collective bargaining partnership. It may not be the best thing when all the various repercussions are taken into account, and yet, this may be exactly what is going to happen....

Two more independent WGA deals

Chalk up two more wins for the WGA after Worldwide Pants, United Artists, and The Weinstein Company. Spyglass Entertainment and Media Rights Capital -- the latter of which I've never heard of, the former produced at least one movie in my tiny DVD collection -- have signed new "interim" deals with the Writers Guild of America, under terms the union has been seeking from the AMPTP for much of the past two-and-a-half months.The AMPTP issued a statement downplaying the impact of the Spyglass and MRC interim deals, asserting, "These one-off agreements are meaningless because the companies signing them know they will not have to abide by their terms for very long, since they'll be superseded by whatever final industrywide accords...
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24 hours later, Variety eats it on DGA talks

Alright, well that's strange. I went off on an epic rant against the DGA and AMPTP yesterday, predicting the latter group's ultimate demise and proclaimed this to be the "beginning of the end" since even the corporate lapdog guild couldn't come within shouting distance of even agreeing on a framework to talk, much less them having sat down to deal.That's what I get for listening to Variety as if they know anything about what's going on that isn't fed to them by PR shills or rumor mongers.Now quite suddenly, a date has been set for the two to begin negotiations, and for whatever reason, they've found some common ground to work on. Critical, this means one of two things have...

Weinstein's make WGA deal; SAG & DGA Items

I admit, I thought the "divide and conquer" strategy wasn't much more than PR. "They want to split the guild and weaken us, so we'll do it right back!" and all that, only unlike the AMPTP which hasn't made so much as a dent in the writers' solidarity, independent companies are telling the AMPTP to bugger off one after another with opportunities to get back to work while their richer and more stubborn (and greedy) rivals sit on their hands, holding their breath.David Letterman's Worldwide Pants came first, and was dismissed as irrelevant since that company only owns two shows: Letterman's, and that other guy who comes on after. Then United Artists signed a deal and was "inundated with scripts...
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My thoughts on fi-core

I figure I'll pontificate a little bit while my satellite Internet connection is down (rain) for who knows how long, on an issue I find interesting, conflicting, and vitally important to talk about: financial-core.Fi-core is a labor term used to define a person who refuses to pay their union dues for political activities they disagree with. That's not politics in the traditional sense, but instead refers to the unions organizing tactics.People who do this aren't bound by hardly any union rules, don't have to obey a strike, yet still benefit from all the things they fight against when the union signs new contracts -- which fi-core members can't vote against, because put simply, they can't vote at all....

Another striking writer hit by car

Back when the writers strike began, it was reported that one impatient studio employee had hit a picketer with his SUV and thrown this guy for a ride. Other writers pulled the guy out of his car and took his keys, after which he ran away and hid inside the building while police were called. The picture on the right ought to give you an idea how of bad that "accident" could have been, but should also have served as a warning about the apparent psychotic nature of office bugs working inside these monolith corporations.Another writer, this time Law & Order: Criminal Intent showrunner Rene Galcer was struck by a car on Tuesday, then physically assaulted by the driver...

Paramount admits streaming profits at CES

You know, this really is the best indictment of the AMPTP corporations I've seen to date, and hysterically, they have only their fat mouths and unrepentant greed to blame for it all. Long before negotiations began -- we're talking three months before October -- the WGA started peppering the press with what it called the two faces of the AMPTP.When talking to the WGA about a new contract, management claimed virtual bankruptcy based on an uncertain future with dwindling profits and foggy prospects for new markets. Then they'd fly 3,000 miles east and tell Wall Street that revenue was soaring, profit was exceeding expectations, and how they were moving aggressively to capitalize on new media to suck up as much...

On Leno's strike breaking; various items

This is not one of those "everyone has an opinion" situations, if your curious what my opinion is. (Hey, see what I did there?)It doesn't really matter what the MBA says (how is it an expired contract can still govern what the WGA does, anyway?) or what the strike rules say: writing during a strike is scabbing, period. Doesn't matter if you're doing it for yourself, doesn't matter if you have a loophole.If you write during a strike, you're a scab....

WGA scores *HUGE* independent deal with United Artists!

I'm sorry I missed (only by an hour..) that Deadline Hollywood is reporting that the Writers Guild of America has signed or is about to sign (within 36 hours) an independent deal with United Artists, the film studio that Tom Cruise and his partner took over after being ejected from Paramount.If this is true -- and that's anything but certain given how unreliable Nikke Finke's sources can be -- it's every bit the huge news she says it is....
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More conglom-friendly spin

Variety has a lot of decent news on most days, but they've written some real junk reporting on the strike over the past two months and apparently, they aren't alone when it comes to reprinting or I suppose making up some spin of their own.I'm referring to a piece going out on the wire from Hollywood Reporter that was doing pretty well up until the fourth paragraph when out of the blue came a nugget straight from the AMPTP's talking point memo....

Hillary Clinton on Letterman tonight

I seem to be the only blog in town that has this outside of the mainstream press; apparently David Letterman has booked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for tonights return to the air, alongside Robin Williams and Shooter Jennings.That ought to make for some interesting ratings with Republican candidate Mike Huckabee appearing on Leno at during the same hour.Perhaps more interesting is that Nikke Finke is spreading the rumor that Craig Ferguson won't actually have any guests tonight, but will transform itself into a pure comedy show for the evening to showcase its writers and their fight with the AMPTP. She's also still trying to form a wedge between feature writers who are upset (and self centered) about Letterman's writers...

Money matters most

The title says it all: money matters most to the multi-national congloms that own our domestic television and film production. If, as this one anonymous writer claims, NBC\NBC-U didn't make any money for GE, it would have been sold off already. The same goes for every major studio.Here, I'll let this person explain it far better than I could:...

AMPTP celebrates corporate greed day

Variety inadvertently made a good point about the strike today when it happily regurgitated AMPTP propaganda messages about how the writers have lost more in regular wages during the strike so far than they would have earned in three years under the new media deal they've been asking for.Ignoring the fact for a moment that all such a statement does is underscore how incredibly cheap the demand is, and how terribly irresponsible and greedy the conglomerates are that they won't cough up an extra $50 million per year to cover digital downloads and streaming video -- what this statement really does is give us insight into the AMPTP's game plan.It's now clear that the congloms were well aware of the...

No Movement in Writers Strike

In returning from the unplanned holiday break, I'm happy to say things will be picking up steam in the next day or so even though we're heading into a traditionally slow weekend where hardly any news or content is released. That's fine, I'll work through it this time around since there's probably a ton more to catch up on that I care to think about, beginning with strike news.Of which, there isn't very much I'm sad to say. The growing sentiment now and something that seems as likely as any bit of reasoning to me has the corporate giants known as the AMPTP (principally about seven or eight multi-national conglomerates that create and control virtually everything we see on TV,...
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Letterman strikes deal with WGA

Late-night TV is about to come back on the air with all hosts returning to their shows, minus writers, with the exception of David Letterman who actually owns his show and has negotiated an interim deal with the Writers Guild of America. Naturally CBS distanced itself from the deal because they didn't want to look like they were making positive efforts to end the strike. They really want to own that "greedy retarded child" image, don't they?News about it here, here, and here.I can see how writers are upset that Leno, O'Brien, and Letterman are going back on the air during a strike when they are all WGA members, crossing picket lines, and damaging the strike by putting money back...
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More media-complicit spin

Tired of strike stuff? Tough, I'm going to keep repeating myself until this fact is stuck firmly in the minds of everyone that is pissed because their favorite shows are now off the air. From Michael Hinman at Sy Fy Portal:We have the writers on one side, who feel they are being left out of the whole new technology game. We have the studios on the other side, who feel they are being asked to pay for something when no money is being made.Yes, I know it's almost impossible to boil down the entire Writers Guild of America strike in two sentences, but that's basically how the people who are paying attention to all of this are seeing it. And...

Letterman coming back?

There isn't generally speaking a lot going on with the writers strike. SAG wrote a letter to the WGA membership telling them what they already knew: SAG wants them to win this battle so that they don't have to next summer. It may not matter if the DGA undercuts both of them so they can get a doggy biscuit from management, so we'll have to see if they get a chance to show how far their commitment really goes.If you're a Letterman fan, though, there's good news for you....

SAG Awards gets strike waiver

Now isn't this interesting: the Writers Guild of America has granted SAG a wavier for its award show, meaning WGA writers can now participate without breaking the guilds strike rules. I love the gesture and thought they should have done it no matter what, but doesn't it seem a little bit like ass kissing between the two?Writers stand to gain immeasurably from a SAG strike -- if and when there is a SAG strike -- in the summer of next year when their contract comes up for renewal. Kiss kiss, hug hug, lots of love!Officials from other bashes -- including the Golden Globes and Academy Awards -- are scrambling to obtain similar waivers from the WGA, which has been on...

AP strike FAQ is full of nonsense

The Associated Press released a FAQ (frequently asked questions) on the writers strike yesterday, and based on how the first answer looks, I'd say it was written by someone taking notes directly from the AMPTP. Glenn Greenwald has written a lot recently on how the mainstream press believes its job to be writing down what one side says and then publishing it -- and then if the other side disgrees -- publishing a "correction" stating that the "others disagree."Pretty much like I said, our vaunted investigative free press thinks its job is to dictate memos rather than finding and publishing the truth between two or more conflicting positions. Since both sides can't possibly be right, the press has basically resorted...

WB Exec: "We know there's not going to be a strike this year, we can handle the Guild."

The ability to present thoughts in a clear and precise manner is a talent you'd think would exist in generous quantities amongst professional writers, but, as it turns out, a gift for fiction isn't the same thing as good speaking ability. Luckily for us, one person I know with an exceptional speaking ability in J. Michael Straczynski has written about the strike a couple of times, and this latest missive is actually quite devistating to the AMPTP....

John Campea still doesn't get it

Back in September, I rebutted some things in a post on The Movie Blog about the strike in which its author, John Campea, got just about everything wrong. You can read everything I've written on the topic since this site was launched by going to the labor category.Since I've fallen behind in news gathering recently, I decided to target a few specific sites that I knew would have interesting content (good or bad) and topping that list was The Movie Blog. Given how badly Campea had been covering the strike up until that point, I figured there'd be some ripe material that needed corrections and explanations that Campea has proven in the past unwilling to publish, or even debate.I wasn't...

Strike debate in L.A. Times

Feature writer Craig Mazin has been debating Matt Edelman in the L.A. Times this week, which will continue I suppose until Friday. I don't know who Edelman is other than he's the guy who was pegged to defend big media's indefensible positions. I think Craig did a decent job in yesterday's publication with what he knows but he wasn't able to address a specific point that perhaps I better can....

New AMPTP adivsor hemoraging union clients

Have you had enough of the strike crap? Soon my friends, soon. Before we move on to more interesting things, it was reported sometime within the past couple of days that two former Democratic strategists that deep-sixed Senator John Kerry's campaign in 2004 were recently hired by the AMPTP to help them win the PR war against the writers. What wasn't reported until today is that, according to Jane Hamsher writing for Firedog Lake, a rather predictable result in hindsight has come into being.Namely, Chris Lehane - one of the two advisers - is losing all his union contracts for siding with multi-national corporations against a union in the middle of a strike:SEIU Local 99 in Los Angeles -- education...

If DGA makes an early deal, DGA could find itself left behind

Still craping news from Friday, I just ran across a story that could change the landscape against conventional wisdom. I knew people like to say that if the DGA swoops in and makes a deal with the AMPTP sometime in the next couple of months, thereby undercutting SAG and WGA, that both of them would be forced to take the same deal via negotiating precedent. I've never bought into that line of reasoning, that just because that's how it always happens, that doesn't mean it has to happen every single time.I've deferred judgment on that to people who know a lot more about this than I do, but really you can't argue against plain logic when its only foe is...
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Walkouts: AMPTP 2, WGA 0

Here's a fun fact; the number of walkouts by each side since the strike began on November 5th:WGA: 0 AMPTP: 2So which side was it again, that was hell bound for a strike? Can't be the side that worked five days past the end of its contract only to have management walk out on those talks. Can't be the side that wanted to negotiate through the holidays after management started threatening ultimatums just before walking out a second time....
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AMPTP breaks off talks. Again.

For the second time since the negotiations began, the AMPTP (studios+networks hereby referred to as either "big media" or "management") has walked away from the table once they realized the other side wasn't simply going to do what they were told, and that's really what this fight has been boiled down to.If you read what Nikke Finke says about the mental state of these CEOs (and use some of that Hollywood pixie dust to suspend believe for a moment that she's not being played like a drum) and believe what she says about them, then it's not hard to believe that what this represents is a lot of stately older white men holding their breath as long as they could,...
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Directors: Friend or Foe?

There's a good story I missed in Variety from yesterday that I think represents the most intriguing and important storyline of the writers strike. We know mostly where both sides stand in that dispute, and I keep reading that the only question about how it will end depends on when the DGA decides to step in and start negotiations for a new deal of their own.I have strong feelings about that because I understand that the DGA is just as weak, if not more so, than IATESE is (if you believe what SAG says about them.) Primarily, that they are the least likely of the big three to strike under practically any circumstances and wish to avoid conflict at nearly...

Strike over $50m per year residual increase costing $300 million per month

This is what $250 million looks like.Sorry I can't give you a direct link to this but there doesn't seem to be one on this page on SyFy Portal, so we'll just have to make due with what we've got. The deal is this: The 1988 writers strike supposedly cost the networks and studios about $500 million dollars for the 5-6 months it lasted, which doesn't account for the larger industry losses (as far as I know) and layoffs and indirect affects to the catering and transportation business, among many others.That's a pretty big number now, forget about what it felt like 19 years ago. I had trouble finding a solid estimate for what that number might look like this...

This strike was always about power, not money

Apparently I'm not the only one who noticed that Nikke Finke reported that a trusted and accurate source had told her that a deal was mostly already in place between the WGA and AMPTP, when later just days after it became obvious that not only was a deal not in place, but that both sides hadn't even gotten on to new proposals yet and were still rehashing their old ones to get caught up for the first time in over three weeks....

Digital Streaming Market Valuation Could Top $1.3bn This Year

The machine is idling this afternoon as both sides in the writers' labor dispute are not scheduled to return to the negotiating table until sometime Tuesday, though there is little hope of the work stoppage coming to an end in the near future.The demands put forth by the Writers Guild of America have been consistently rebuffed by the big media corporations who insist on pushing across rollbacks, also complaining of what they claim is an uncertain market, one that NBC has been keenly pursuing extremely aggressively over the past five weeks....

NBC intimiated by "uncertain" new media - makes 3rd investment in 5 weeks

While NBC and the other major networks and studios continue - even four weeks into a writers strike over these issues - to claim that the "new media" market (digital downloads and streaming video) is too uncertain and unprofitable to share in their booty with writers, they continue pushing aggressively into these supposedly nonexistent markets at a record pace with new deals being announced practically on a weekly basis....

AMPTP & WGA 'done deal' rumor doesn't pan out

Well that didn't take long, did it? Nikkie Finke's "very reliable source" who started a rumor which she happily reprinted on Monday either lied to her, or didn't really know anything to begin with. Her anonymous source said that "It's already done, basically" referring to a deal between the Writers Guild of America and the Association of Motion Picture and Television producers. The two sides came together on the 26th for the first time since the strike began with the rumor coming out less than a day later.Finke vouched for her source as having been "very accurate in the past", but I've yet to see a retraction or explanation as to why she published an unsubstantiated rumor that has now...
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Drudge report on Leno firings inaccurate

Variety led off the afternoon with a story about staffers for The Tonight Show having worked their last day for NBC, and for some reason or another, Matt Drudge turned this from these guys being laid-off by NBC to them being fired by Lay Leno. That is a blatant misstatement of the facts (also known as a lie.) None of these people work for Jay Leno, they work for NBC; the network signs their checks and they are responsible for the writers strike - along with every other greedy AMPTP member - which is the cause for these layoffs.There's simply nothing for these people to do so long as the Leno writers refuse to work without a fair contract. It's...

DNC cancels Democratic CBS debate

Not much news on the strike front, other than the DNC canceling a democratic debate that was supposed to be moderated by Katie Couric. I saw Hillary Clinton on CBS a few days ago and we all knew there was the possibility that the CBS news writers were going to finally call their strike which would have essentially closed off CBS to labor friendly dems. I thought it was pretty low for Clinton to do that, it was obvious she was getting it in under the wire for her own personal gain....

Negotiations continue

Tuesday came and went without a deal between the AMPTP and WGA, which I think was pretty much expected. Even if they came to an agreement on the new media/digital residuals, I imagine it'd still take days to work out everything else. What's important to understand here is that this is still a negotiation - no deal doesn't mean no progress on the issues.There are unsubstantiated rumors Nikkie Finke is spreading that agreement has already been made on the principal issues, which is great if it's true, but when was the last time a rumor from a gossip blog actually turned out to be anything real? I'm not knocking blogs here, you're reading mine so I'm not completely unaware of...

The state of things

I hope everyone enjoyed their long holiday weekend. I didn't bother posting anything since most people were going to be traveling or away from their computers, plus, there wasn't hardly any news to post anyway. Of the things that have happened, I'll catch up you up.I forgot to do the weekend box office preview, I discovered a problem with Yahoo!'s email system that can prevent people from registering accounts for commenting, and Rupert Murdock is still a douchebag intent on indoctrinating not only the United States, but the entire world into the neo-con culture. Still interested?...
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Will the strike cause Idol to blossum, or crash?

An entertainment writer for the Associated Press wrote a semi-amusing article about his vision of the future of Hollywood due to the strike, at least in the near term, all the way through July of next year. Most of it is just playful prognostication, but there is a nugget of inspiration in there that will lead me to a perhaps controversial prediction. Oh I'll be hearing a strange, low frequency noise emanating from every direction from now until I die that resembles a couple of hundred million people all saying "duh" at the same time."Prison Break" stages a puppet version of the show to benefit production staff; an episode of "Gossip Girl" is mimed to reflect writer-less television. Viewers discover...

Picketing on Tuesday - 4000 strong

Variety has a write-up about Tuesday's picketing that supposedly drew another 4,000 members to a single place, allowing everyone else to continue working as if nothing was happening at other lots, and noted the letters the networks are sending around to their employees assuring them that their bosses are trying as hard as they can to screw those filthy writers get a fair deal done. I think from this point forward, writers only need to make a single point to win this strike: Warner Bros. and I think it was Paramount started selling DVDs for $3 each in China this year to combat piracy where counterfeit disks sell for about $1.50. Not second-run crap flicks, the good stuff is what...

AMPTP agrees not to spin, spins anyway

Apparently back-channeling isn't only used in Hollywood for getting waring partners back to the negotiating table. Even though the AMPTP agreed not to send out any press releases or public statements about coming back to the table (the WGA will do the same) to avoid inflaming the situation more than it already is, that hasn't stopped them from sending out what amounts to a press release to their own employees knowing full well it will be leaked to, and reprinted by the media.Sadly, the irreverent protector of fair and balanced reporting over at Deadline Hollywood bought the bridge and is now passing this love letter around as a sign that real progress is about to take place. All I see...

WGA and AMPTP to restart negotiations

A couple of notable things have taken place concerning the WGA strike. First and foremost, both sides have agreed to restart negotiations after Thanksgiving, on or about the 26th of November. Carlton Cuse (Lost) has decided to cross the picket line and return to his producing duties with absolutely no guarantee that said negotiations will bare any fruit. I don't know what his contract requires him to do, but by crossing the line, if these negotiations fall apart again, what he'll be doing right now is making sure that ABC has more original material they can air in January and beyond, hurting writers longer than should be necessary.He isn't the only one who is going to, or has already, crossed...

Worldwide demonstrations to support WGA Nov. 28th

George Lucas may have to think twice about seeking scabs to write his live-action Star Wars show, as many international writing unions are declaring support for the Writers Guild of America by pledging not to write for struck companies. Such actions by non-WGA members is considered 'scabbing' and is heavily frowned upon by writers of any stripe. Penalties for WGA members caught doing scab work can be damaging, if not terminal to a persons writing career once a strike ends.Lucas has told trade papers that he wanted an international writing staff to bring culture and flavor to the show, and that he intended to bring them together sometime (I think in December) to hash out plots and outlines, after which...

Variety and AMPTP spin the news

A Variety writer yesterday wrote what amounted to a blog post whining about how writers are being mean to his company, after accusations that Variety has been leaning heavily towards the studios and networks in their coverage since before the strike began, was officially declared a mountain. The only question today is which sides spin to start with, Variety's, or the big media association.The trade mags headline this evening says that the "Gulf widens between WGA, AMPTP" while noting below that the AMPTP's President and negotiator Nick Counter has actually come down off his demand that the strike be suspended before he'd return to the bargaining table. That sounds like a concession to me, even if it's a small one,...
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'Ellen' skips east coast visit over WGAe threats

The animosity between Ellen DeGeneres and the Writers Guild of America (East) seems to be taking a toll on the host's show, which has canceled plans to travel to the east coast this week apparently due to threats by WGAe that they'd picket her show for continuing her hosting duties while the strike is on-going. WGAe blasted DeGeneres for only honoring the strike for a single day before crossing the line. They are especially pissed because she happens to be a WGA member herself.I don't think there's any argument about the legality of this, her hosting duties are separate from any writing she may have done for the show - which actually appears to be none at all given what...

Variety says writers are being mean

You'd think that one of Hollywood's top trade mags would be thrilled over a strike by any of the big unions, as insiders and others turn to their pages as an authoritative source for what's going on, who wants what, and when it'll all come to an end. Something to be proud of, and a fantastic opportunity to raise your profile beyond reporting which studio bought which script and which over paid actor just signed a record deal for a movie nobody wants to go see.And you'd be wrong.Variety published a faux story Wednesday that reads more like an impassioned op-ed from the editor that amounts to begging writers to stop being mean to them. While Brian Lowry acknowledges the...

Back on the Air

Mediapundit.net is back on the air after going dark for a day to show this persons support for the Writers Guild of America. It was symbolic, but they deserve the support regardless of the actual results.Here's why I did it.Misconceptions about this strike are running all over the place due mostly to the large multinational corporations that own the studios and broadcast networks also owning many local TV stations and newspapers. It is in their best interests to pressure people from the top on down to put out positive spin that favors the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) which is exactly whats happening right now....

TV Blogs Go Dark in Solidarity with the Writers Guild of America

On November 13th, this blog and the blogs listed below will be on strike for the day in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America. As fellow writers and as TV fans, we are coming together to express our strong support for the writers and their goals. We believe that when a writer's work makes money for a company, that writer deserves to be paid.Many writers depend on residuals for a stable income, and that income shouldn't be based on an outdated formula which ignores the existence of new media and all but a tiny percentage of DVD sales. The talented writers responsible for so much of what we love about television should and must be paid fairly and equitably,...

Can Quarterlife Survive During The Strike?

There has been some talk recently that Internet-only series Quarterlife may be bought by NBC and presumably reproduced for airing on the network after all its own shows run out of original episodes to air, sometime in or after January. That article isn't the first to suggest this and I really don't know anything about the show or the probabilities of such a thing going forward, but it did raise an interesting proposition.How can it all work and how will it be affected by the strike, after it's bought?...

NBC Launches Second Digital TV Service in 3 Weeks, Still Refuses to Pay Writers

Over the course of less than a month, three interesting things happened that tell you a lot about the honesty and the intentions of the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) who flat out refuse to pay writers anything for TV shows streamed over the Internet or downloaded to your computer (after you've bought it from Apple or Amazon presumably.)NBC and Fox launched a streaming-video website called Hulu.com that streams all their hit TV shows (with commercials that they make money from) absolutely free to users.NBC and Fox as part of AMPTP refused to pay writers any money for digital media at all at the contract negotiating table, and the writers went on strike to protest.NBC launched another...

In L.A., They Kiss Ass With The Best

There's been a lot of ass kissing going on over at Deadline Hollywood lately and sometimes I wonder if people pay any attention to what they are doing and saying anymore. Consider this fellow who is a writer for Ugly Betty, who laminates over chanting in front of the studios that writers are canceling their subscriptions to the trade magazines Hollywood Reporter and Variety in favor of DHD. I wonder if this guy ever actually reads DHD, and how he would feel if he knew that Finke drank the studio koolaid about the residual rollback's coming off the table being a real concession?I thought Nikki and the producers were the only people on Earth that actually bought that line of...

Fox Mass Firings Rumor Quelled

Deadline Hollywood started and has now killed an irresponsible rumor that Fox axed every single one of their showrunners for not fulfilling their producing duties during the writers' strike. Turns out what really happened was that Fox started suspending showrunners who stopped running their own shows, hardly a crime when one considers the current situation.RUMOR that Fox just fired all their showrunners/writer-producers. And, because they're now fired, when the strike ends Fox can choose whether or not to rehire them. But since they were fired, the showrunners can ALSO choose whether or not to go back. I'm trrying to confirm. There's a desperate need tro pin down all these rumors...The original post title used a dirty trick from Fox News...

Looking For Writers? How Aboot Us, Eh?

A couple of stories in Variety remind us that where there is demand, there will always be supply. With all writers currently in strike in Hollywood, there is a chance however remote that U.S. producers will start looking outside the country to fill their gaps rather than subjugating themselves to bargaining with the local red-shirt wearing scum that have the audacity to demand fair payment for the scripts that make their bosses billions of dollars each year.The question of the day seems to be how would you like House to talk down to his desperate minions, with a British or a Canadian inflection? Home grown content from across the border has been sparse over the years as most of Canada's...

Ronald D. Moore on NBC: They Weren't Going to Pay Us

It seems like the popular thing to do now. Go out to the picket lines and score quick interviews and quotes from showrunners on everything that's been pissing them off lately. Well, Ron Moore is plenty pissed off at NBC and it's easy to understand why. I've written on this subject before and had my reporting linked from the WGA website and quoted in a trade labor magazine, because I think this is important and because I knew it was a pretense to the struggles going on right now over digital media.NBC wanted Ron Moore and company to create a series of webisodes - basically two-minute shorts that step outside the main thrust of a TV show - to broadcast...
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Strike News Roundup: November 8th

Defamer has a number of great links today, including news that Fox has shelved 24 in favor of Prison Break and The Sarah Connor Chronicles due to running short on episodes for the former ailing drama. 24 and Chronicles were scheduled to debut side-by-side with Prison Break being pushed back, but now it looks like PB will hit the air first, followed by Chronicles mid-month, with 24 to be held back until the strike ends.If you choose to count it, 24 makes the eighth show to be negatively affected by the strike earlier than planned.Nikki Finke had the hilarious idea that agents are the magical solution to the strike, that both sides negotiators be benched and replaced. Let's think about...
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Update On The Picketer Struck By Car

I just found a story posted on Defamer from a couple of days ago that fills in some missing pieces about the writer who was hit by a car while walking the picket line (two days ago) in front of Sunset-Gower Studios. I did note in the strike news update this afternoon that the writer (Tom Johnson) ended up with a broken leg, but thankfully sustained no critical injuries. I didn't know what the surrounding circumstances were such as whether or not the driver fled the scene.Turns out that's exactly what happened.(Defamer) quoting a local ABC affiliate, whitenesses said that the driver was corralled by other picketing writers immediately after the accident and took away his keys so he couldn't...

Michael Eisner Calls Writers' Strike "Stupid", Says They Can't Afford To Pay Writers More -- Time Warner Announces $1 Billion Profit On Huge Summer Box Office

$250 Million dollars -- About 1/28th what Time Warnermade this year.Two different stories from two different corporations on two different websites emerged today, that when put together, says all you need to know about why the writers are striking right now and how dishonest and pathetic the major studios are. Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner was on Wall Street today telling the stock market bigwigs that the writers' strike is "insanity" and "too stupid", according to The Hollywood Reporter, that "writers had been premature in pressing for digital revenue when the model was still unproven, and should have postponed action for at least three years."NBC and Fox recently initiated a beta test of their new video publishing website called Hulu.com...
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Strike News For November 7th, 2007

There are only a couple of interesting news bits this afternoon regarding the writers' strike. The guy who was hit by a car yesterday is "Tom Johnson, head writer for Talkshow With Spike Feresten" according to Deadline Hollywood's Nikke Finke. Tom suffered a broken leg but presumably will be ok. I sincerely hope whoever hit him and then fled the scene (an automatic crime no matter what the circumstances are) ends up spending at least some amount of time in the local jail, though knowing how pathetic the L.A. justice system is, he'll probably get even less time than Paris Hilton even though he/she damn near murdered this poor guy.The "breaking talks news" that Nikke alluded to on her blog...
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Are Canadian Productions Now Scabs?

I've been wondering for a couple of weeks what Stargate Atlantis exec-producer Joe Mallozzi meant when answering a question about whether or not SGA would be affected by the WGA strike - the one that began on Monday morning. He said no, but no can mean a lot of things with ambiguous context. The Sci Fi Channel had yet to order a fifth season of the show when the question was asked, and I haven't been clear on the various producers guild affiliations until now.Canada has its own writers guild, which on face value actually seems silly and destructive, at least for North America where you can have writers in one country, while shooting it in another. According to a...
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Seven Shows Are Shut Down

A writers strike isn't supposed to start shutting down shows until those shows start running out of scripts that were finished before the strike started. In this case, that was supposed to be sometime in January, although some were behind and only had one or two scripts ready, the bulk was supposed to come later - and the bulk may yet still drag on.But a number of shows are shutting down right now due to walkouts by the writers, writing-producers, and not an insubstantial number of actors as well. Not to be a party pooper, but aren't a lot of these people violating their SAG contracts? Way to go! That's what I call labor unity.Here's the list as of Tuesday...

Strike News Roundup: November 6th

Apparently someone walking the picket lines was crossing a street yesterday and was hit by a car, one that left the scene of the accident which is felony hit-and-run. Given how many people were there, I would hope that between the group, they can remember the persons license plate and report it to the police. I haven't heard anything else about this, so I assume the guy wasn't killed or seriously maimed. Whoever did that needs to pay a heavy price - this poor guy could have been killed for crying out loud.Is becoming a murderer really worth getting through an intersection three seconds faster?...
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AMPTP President Nick Counter Puts Foot in Mouth

While listening to NPR this afternoon/early evening, they did a short segment on the writers strike that started early this morning. They had opposing clip quotes from Craig Mazin and Nick Counter, neither of which was spectacular or notable except for the part where Nick Counter made himself and the AMPTP look like retards. Counter said that "most of the writers that are successful will lose more in one week than they can ever gain from a strike."In his head, it probably sounded like a good argument for not having a strike, after all, if those gains are so incredibly small, why shut down the entire industry and lose so much money for something so insignificant? And there you have...
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Jay Leno Joins The Line; Some Shows May Only Have Five Episodes Left

I heard on the news this afternoon that Democratic Presidential candidate Barak Obama has declared his support for writers as the strike got underway today. That's not really surprising seeing as how Democrats love unions and Obama and Clinton are not labors favorite son (so to speak) - John Edwards is. Even so, that support is appreciated and won't be forgotten by anyone.As you can see, Jay Leno was walking the lines today showing his support, as have a number of big names that typically hang out in front of the camera. SAG has been more supportive of the WGA this year than they have in a long time, perhaps because this instance of leadership reached out to them more...
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Hollywood Hyphenates Holding The Line

Tina Fey Holds The Line Variety has a story running this afternoon about writer-producers that have duties other than using their titles as seniority in the writing hierarchy - we're talking about people who approve mixes of the show, do actual video editing themselves, and other actual producing duties. They also talk about writers that also act on their shows and are legally obligated to cross the writers picket line and get in front of the camera for episodes the studios still have complete scripts for.These guys and gals are in a tougher place than regular hyphenates as members of more than one guild....
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Working Writers on the Strike, In Their Own Words.

And to think, I used to get paid for this..I've seen a lot of working writers blogging about the strike in the past few days, some of them over the past few weeks, and one that writes all about this kind of thing on a regular basis. I've been writing about it myself for the better part of a year on a multitude of websites, and even though my understanding of labor issues has been questioned by a person or two who probably just didn't know any better, I've had articles on webisodes linked to from the Writers Guild of America's front page and been quoted in a labor trade magazine in the subject.My labor coverage has been generally praised...

There Was No Way This Strike Wasn't Going To Happen

For some odd reason, it seems that a number of WGA peeps are trying to do an end run around the leadership by dragging John Wells in to do some back channel negotiating. I'm no expert on unions, Wells, or much of anything for that matter, but I didn't need to read this page to know that Wells was a complete failure as President of the guild during his reign, that he screwed over his own people apparently, and that some elements within the guild would rather sit on the status quo than see gains made through a long and costly strike.I empathize with them not wanting to endure a strike but that's just lame. Wells couldn't get the job...
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NBC May Cap Heroes at 11 Episodes

This isn't surprising at all, with a strike set to begin sometime Monday morning there won't be anymore writing done from now until the studios and networks decide to stop redefining the word 'greed'. NBC is taking advantage of the last few days they have control over Tim Kring and company by forcing them to write an alternate ending to the 11th episode of Heroes this season so that it can function has a season-ending wrap-up.News comes right on the heels of NBC axing the much hyped spinoff called "Origins" that would have aired either during the regular second season hiatus, or more likely in between the second and third seasons. Kevin Smith, John August, Eli Roth and a number...

Strike? Try A Studio Lockout

In case you had any doubt about who is forcing this strike, the writers or the producers, this really tells you all you need to know. According to Deadline Hollywood's Nikke Finke, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was invited to try his hand at mediating the dispute this weekend but the idea was rejected out of hand by the producers. The writers tried to setup another meeting this weekend to continue negotiations, which was also flatly rejected by the studios.Not only have they shown total disinterest in bargaining (at all) with their ridiculous proposals that amount to suicide, they are now just plain old refusing to meet anymore. Mmmmm, you smell that? Stinks like desperation in here. Says about the...

Contract Expires; Was This Strike Inevitable?

Strike news doesn't seem to be carrying very well but I'll tell you something, you're going to start feeling it in about two months and you'll wonder why all your favorite shows stop airing new episodes, why every other program is either a rerun or a reality/sports program, and why it has to be this way. Coming from a person who knows, the truth is that it didn't have to be this way. The guy holding the line for the studios and networks has been doing this almost as long as I've been alive, and has never technically lost to the WGA or any other union in all that time (as far as I know) and fears them about as...
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When It Comes To The Studios, Greed Looms Large

There hasn't been much movement on the Hollywood labor front over the past 24 hours, the studios are still effecting a de facto lockout by halting all writing hiring a few weeks ago and refusing to bargain in good faith at the table, even now that the previous three-year contract has legally expired. The Ass. of Motion Picture and Television Producers' (AMPTP) President and lead negotiator - who has failed to impress and by all appearances looks to be nothing but a thug that is in the midst of a full-on meltdown now that WGA has leadership more stubborn than he is - is spinning the news in his favor by claiming to have made many good-faith attempts to reach...
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'United Hollywood' Blog Launches

Some of the contract captains have setup a blog at Blogspot to write about the things happening over there as we near the expiration of the WGA's contract with the AMPTP. Captain, working writer, and now blogger Kate Purdy explains what her job as a contract captain on United Hollywood:I attend union meetings, and report back to my team of writers. They ask me questions. I get answers. It’s a grassroots, member to member dialogue. Several of us captains huddled, and decided to create this website. Why? Because we want to share our perspectives to, and beyond our membership. Considering that the corporate conglomerates that comprise the AMPTP (the studios and networks) own the newspapers we read, we know we...

Strike News Roundup

There's just about 35 hours left until the Writers Guild of America's contract with the Ass. of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) expires and things aren't looking very good right now. WGA is holding the line in their demands to double DVD residual payments such that they (writers not the guild itself) get $0.08 for every DVD sold instead of about the four or five cents they currently get. The studios adamantly refuse, claiming they can't afford it.What a joke....

Former Studio Exec Bashes Studio's Negotiating Tactics; Both Sides Fighting Over Chairs

Former and well credentialed studio exec Herbert F. Solow wrote a letter-to-the-editor which Variety published today in which he blasted the studios negotiating tactics with the writers guild, yet show restrained praise for the person shepherding those negotiations, Nick Counter. From everything I've seen Counter say in public statements, the guy seems like a guy who was beat up as a kid and grew up without any sense of self confidence, and based on his initial retarded proposals that got laughed off the negotiating table, I'd hardly call the man intelligence in any respect.Solow has never been a studio head Solow has been studio chief at Desilu Studios and MGM, and is also a long standing member of the Writers...
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Can You Rewrite a Script in Seven Days? I hear Fox is Hiring

No joke, according go the L.A. Times, 20th Century Fox is desperately searching for a writer to perform emergency surgery on the script for X-Men spinoff Wolverine with just seven days left before the WGA's contract with the producers expires on November 1st. I'm sure that given enough money and other incentives (I'd take a development deal over a pickup truck loaded with cash, nothing says you love me like commitment after all) someone with the appropriate level of talent could be found and the job done in the few days we have left before Hollywood beats the terrorists to ending the world first.As the smog caked rag writes, Wolverine isn't the only project on a rush job right. The...

WGA Abandones Reality Orginization

Things may be ready to start moving at a rapid pace in negotiations between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Associated of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) with news that the producers have asked the guild to make sure that their full 40-member negotiating committee shows up on Thursday and recent revelations that writers have abandoned their demand that they be given jurisdiction over television reality editors.Such is the first concession on behalf of union writers since negotiations began, and may have been in response to the producers taking back their proposal to revamp residual payments in such a way that writers would essentially never see a dime from them - a move that most outside observers...
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Different Day, Same Old Crap

There was a post on Defamer yesterday that gave unfortunate press to Nikki Finke's mass delusion over the AMPTP taking their de facto and 100% insincere residual elimination off the table. She thinks it's an actual concession and is trying to convince people that the WGA laughing over the notion is some kind of spin to keep fire in the belly of writers for the coming strike. There are perhaps five people in the entire country that bought that propaganda from the studios, which is actually heartening because that means 99.9% of the rest of us called bullshit when we smelled it....
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Feature: Drinking Jesus Juice at Deadline Hollywood

Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood and I don't see things eye-to-eye when it comes to Hollywood labor. She drinks the coolaid the studios gave out to the press when they took their retarded residual rollbacks off the table in the first sign that perhaps they are actually interested in trying to negotiate a new deal before the strike occurs. For somebody who appears to be a legitimate "expert" on industry execs - insofar as one can be such a thing - and I respect her insight, access, and stinging if not often insulting and unprofessional attacks on said execs, she just continues to miss the big picture....
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Finke Drinks The Studios Cool Aid

Nikke Finke - whom I love to read yet think is wrong about 50% of the time - has published her story about the WGA strike authorization vote. I'm heartened by her insistance that the studios are unnerved by the resolve shown by writers, and as she writes, "the feeling was always that if the total of the 'Yes' votes was anywhere above 75%, the studios and networks had a giant headache on their hands."As I posted a few minutes ago, the precise number of members voting to authorize a strike was 90.3%, so I'd imagine based on what Nikki has observed that things have gone from a giant headache to continuous vomiting in corner for their expensive offices. Try not...
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WGA To Studios: You've Been Served

According to the Internets, this is what just happened to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP):ServedTo be beaten in a sudden, out of the blue competition. No previous knowledge is required on a subject to be served... Once somebody is served, and then this person serves back, then its on.Ah, South Park humor..anyway, writers have been filling out ballots this past week that would authorize WGA leadership to call a strike once the current contract expires on October 31st. Such a vote is not for a strike, but to authorize one if necessary. I don't think that anybody thought the authorization would fall through, but I know that some weren't quite sure if they'd get the magical...

Another Day, Another Studio Sued Over Accounting

I'm sure that most people don't follow labor issues much, if at all, especially not in Hollywood. To quickly explain, studios play with their accounting books adding in every possible cost they can imagine, discounting certain profits, shifting and adding debt (they are true masters that would make Enron proud) until every movie they produce shows a loss on paper. They do this because a lot of people see huge blockbusters making hundreds of millions of dollars and they figure since they helped make the picture, they ought to get a piece of the profit based on a percentage.The studios never want to give out money they don't have to, so they promise most people a percentage of the profit...

WGA Steps in it Over Supposed Animation Ban

There were two curious rules the Writers Guild of America set forth within the past day or two, called Strike Rules (pdf), where WGA supposedly banned its own members from taking part in feature animation writing, which is not covered in the current contract with the studios and is not an area the guild tends to represent. (Forget for now the other odd rule.) Now, the union that does actually represent feature animation writers is none too pleased with WGA's new rules and is threatening to sue over the matter....
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Additional Script Orders May go to Waste

I'm no expert on television production, having not been directly involved with any myself, but it doesn't take a genius to understand that no matter how much the studios stockpile scripts for feature productions and television, some schedules leave projects vulnerable to a strike. Best as I understand it, virtually every new fall show is going to suffer if and when this happens.The question then becomes, have NBC and CBS ordered new scripts for some of their shows despite the possibility they won't even get written, or because of it, in order to sneak them in under the wire without possibility of getting any revisions during the strike, forcing them to shoot what they have, crap or not....
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CSI:NY Pay Raise Makes Studios Look Like Fools

I really want to drive this point home so that people stop believing the lies coming out of Hollywood studios. Josef Adalian of Variety reported last night that Gary Sinise is getting a pay raise for his gig on CSI at exactly the same time studios are crying - literally crying - at the negotiating table with the Writers Guild of America about losing money on television production. They are demanding that writers give up residuals (half their payment, for some writers most of it) until after a program shows a profit on paper (never in the history of television has a program shown a profit on paper. Seriously, Fox claims The Simpsons is being produced at a loss.)So how...
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Studios Move Towards Writer Lockout

Hardly ever do you hear about what the studios do in preparation for a strike that is just as damaging to the situation as anything the writers do. The writers you see are not the only people who can refuse to stop working with the other side.Will the writers strike until they get what they want, like whiny children bound and determined to stay up just another five minutes? Or will they be fair to those poor production studios who are out there just trying to make an honest buck in a cruel world full of pirates and thieves?...

Writers Strike Inches Closer

According to Daily Variety, the Writers Guild of America has sent a strike authorization request out to their members. I won't bore you with the details and if you're truly interested, you can read all about what this means on Variety's website. Short answer: not a lot. This is pretty routine stuff and is far, far from an actual strike occurring in terms of timing. Any strike by WGA or SAG won't happen until the summer of next year at the earliest.I hope people understand what's going on here though, because this isn't a typical situation where both sides are right and both sides are wrong - the writers have the side of God locked down on this one, so...
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