WGA strike news update Dec 17

(9 am – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Such a catchy title. Gotta work on that.

Lots of politickery today, and stories about late-night shows returning after the new year. Leno and Conan seem to be being forced back writer-less, and Letterman (who owns his production company) is negotiating his own interim agreement with the WGA. No word on the Daily Show/Colbert Report yet. Plus some action links, below.

Crossposted from dKos, where we’re chatting while desperately missing Jon & Stephen.

Consumers Support WGA’s latest target is American Express. Also presumably the flu virus, since she begged off early tonight to spend some quality time with an electric blanket.

Firedoglake has an easy email letter tool, sending stuff to show producers (TDS/TCR have been added), and you can still buy  pencils, and visit StrikeSwag.com — profits donated to the WGA’s Solidarity Fund to help non-WGA members affected by the strike.

Some sites to check out for info:  

Nikki Finke, at DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com


WGAeast blog

Livejournal fan supporters


Nikki Finke is going on a pre-holiday slowdown (and my brain seems to have joined her), so there isn’t as much weekend catch-up to do. Plenty out there, though.

In ‘negotiations’ news/politickery: the SAG (screen actors guild) supports the WGA, and the DGA (directors guild) will meet with the WGA to discuss their ‘New Media’ positions. This would be before the DGA starts its upcoming contract negotiations with AMPTP.

Speaking (typing?) of the AMPTP, imagine this DeadlineHollywoodDaily headline being read in the resplendent, sonorous tones of, oh, James Earl Jones.

AMPTP Statement Recycles Same Old Shit

In addition to their statement, the AMPTP have released an ad (that’s AMPTP.org, not .com) proclaiming “different assets, different businesses, different companies, one common goal,” signed by the CEOs of Fox, Paramount, Disney, Sony, Warner bros, CBS, MGM, and NBC Universal. Here’s Nikki about that:

Just one problem: legal sources tell me the ad also exposes potential issues relating to collusion, price-fixing, and anti-trust among the Big Media companies who are supposed to be business competitors. It also once and all establishes that the AMPTP, rather than a supposed umbrella group for 350 production entities as it claims, is really just what I’ve been saying all along: a handful of moguls who control Hollywood because of infotainment consolidation brought on by the lifting of financial syndications rules — … So think about it: these 8 guys have most everyone’s livelihoods in their hands and all they’re doing is boasting about how great their 4th quarters are going to look because of those pesky salaries and productions costs they didn’t have to pay. Why, they’ll probably get bigger bonuses for perpetuating the strike by walking out of the talks. And maybe — if they’re really really lucky, and their collective plan to overhaul the movie and TV business succeeds — they’ll figure out a way to provide entertainment without those expensive “assets who all go home at night” entirely.

United Hollywood did some looking into that as well:

…But the AMPTP’s “About Us” web page claims their membership is made up of “over 350 motion picture and television producers.” In fact, there is a clickable list of 397 companies the AMPTP claims to be representing in the current negotiations.

So, who are the other 389 companies? I decided to do a little digging.

Some of them are owned by those eight mega-corporations – Touchstone is owned by Disney, Castle Rock is owned by Warner Bros., and, of course… {39 production companies, nearly an entire screenful — TiaR}…all owned by Sony.

Some of the others are owned by independent film producers, actors, dead people, the WWE, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Mennonite Anabaptist Information Center (“a non-profit information center that teaches visitors about the faith and life of Amish and Mennonites, located in Shipshewana, Indiana”). Those are the key points, but there’s more snark at the source.  

And the WGA has decided to try to make individual deals with the various companies. Which may be what sparked that perhaps unwise ad. However, it’s a good segue into today’s other major story, the return of late-night shows. No, not ours yet, don’t get your hopes up.

Leno and Conan O’Brian are ‘reluctantly’ returning, writer-less, to the air after New Year’s. It looks to me like it’s about saving people’s jobs. They’ve been reminded that WGA strike rules

prohibit Guild members from performing any writing services during a strike for any and all struck companies. This prohibition includes all writing by any Guild member that would be performed on-air by that member (including monologues, characters, and featured appearances) if any portion of that written material is customarily written by striking writers.

Letterman, who owns his own production company (“Worldwide Pants”), reportedly has (or is about to have) an interim agreement with the WGA to allow him and his writers to return to the air. There’s all sorts of politickery about this, which is making my teeny little brain hurt.  So on to the ellpses…

The LATimes reports that Striking writers {are}  in talks to launch Web start-ups, bypassing the studios completely like United Artists did once upon a time… I keep finding myself pointed to Robert J. Elisberg’s Huffpo blogs (he’s been on the editorial board for the WGA, so presumably he knows what he’s talking about)… there’s been some more fan discussion about whether to buy DVDs or not while supporting the strike, and about strike-kosher tv optionsThe CW has followed NBC’s lead in giving money back to advertisers… if you live in LA, there’s a call to action about a city council meeting re: the impact of the strike… MoveOn has a petition going to bring back TDS/TCR… Tomorrow there will be ‘Scene of the Crime’ rallys (with crime show writers, of course) in NY and LA, and it looks like these are the last scheduled actions before the new year… the KansasCity.com froze with NY picketers this past Thursdau… and, let’s see. Here’s some analysis, and “Nick Counter’s Nickel Counter” was good… and United Hollywood’s word of the day today was

Word of the Day: Collusion

col-lu-sion [kuh-loo-zhuhn]

secret agreement or cooperation between two or more parties for a fraudulent, illegal, or deceitful purpose


  1. but I’ll stop by over here too. Although my brain seems to have run out of words…

  2. …the WGA has rejected waiver requests from the Golden Globes and Oscars.  Which means that no clips can be used from films for the Oscars without their being picketed, and no writers can work on the Golden Globes.

    From Variety.

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