The Writers' Strike: No End in Sight

Also: Justine Bateman sends an e-mail.

Well, movie fans, the writers' strike is a month old. Are you enjoying it? Are you ready for more?

According to Variety, you'd better be -- as a report published yesterday makes painfully clear, there's no end in sight. Those re-opened negotiations from a week ago don't seem to have yielded much, unless you count trading public barbs as progress. For instance, as you'll no doubt recall, one of the core issues at the heart of the strike is compensation for streamed or downloaded media. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers' latest offer, as per Variety's report, is "a fixed $250 annual payment on streaming video for one-hour network dramas -- without any additional compensation for use -- compared with the current $20,000 figure for TV reruns."

Writers Guild of America West president Patric Verrone, master of understatement, says "We have to get a better offer on the table."

There are signs of a resolution, even if you have to squint to see them. For example, the AMPTP took out an ad in yesterday's Daily Variety, using it as an opportunity to extend at least half an olive branch to the writers. From the article:

The AMPTP said its latest proposal isn't a "take-it-or-leave-it offer." The org continues, "It is designed to allow both sides to engage in the kind of substantive give-and-take negotiation that can lead to common ground. The WGA leadership asked for five days to respond. So with the ball in the WGA's court, we look forward to what they have to say when we meet today."

The tone is markedly different from the hardnosed stance the org used in many of its prior public letters. Notably absent is the finger-pointing that marked company execs' reactions in previous missives. And the execs' private frustration at the writers is substituted with a benign "We look forward to what they have to say."

Meanwhile, some members of the Screen Actors Guild have not forgotten that if not for a one-year extension agreed to by the SAG board in 2004, their deal would have expired along with the WGA's. As Variety puts it, "the WGA's taking the heat for what should have been SAG's battle." The report quotes from an e-mail by SAG board member Justine Bateman, who says:

"Ultimately, this is our strike...If the WGA had not called this strike, we would all be participating in massive stockpiling. Then, in June, when our contract expires, the AMPTP would have offered us the no-gains-play-your-work-for-free-and-how-bout-some-rollbacks offer we're now familiar with. And SAG would have to go on strike, but because of the stockpiling, we would have no leverage."

Source: Variety



joe shmo

well, poop.

Dec 4 - 06:12 AM


Steve Khang

ok, so this whole situation stinks... it's gonna REALLY stink in a couple more weeks when everyone is out of fresh episodes, and we're stuck with A. reruns, B. bad shows that never got released, or C. reality TV. :( :( :( :( :( My DVD player is going to be getting a lot more use now.

by the way, I just have to say that the picture you guys have now for "the strike" is hilarious. good work!

Dec 4 - 06:34 AM

Peter Parker

Taylor Scaggs

Everytime i read an article about this crap i start to cry because of my precious Lost.

Dec 4 - 07:05 AM


Tommy Savor

good...leave them jobless!

Dec 4 - 07:12 AM


Merlin Ambrosius

Why anyone cares about this on deeper than a superficial level is beyond me. The fact that there is nothing on TV to watch is perfectly alright with me, as it should be for anyone who values spending their lives doing something other than looking at an electronic box that aires mostly crappy TV shows anyways. The only thing I find not amusing about the strike are the people who have jobs b/c of the show, but aren't writers, but get paid less than writers. The camera operators, the make-up people, prop people, etc. They make less than the writers do, but will become jobless b/c of the writers. To me, that is the ONLY story out of this whole episode.

Dec 4 - 07:38 AM


Adam Collins

Thank goodness I just bought a fresh new HD DVD player. It seems that I will be needing this since my TiVo is going to be useless. On the other hand, I will be able to catch up on my DVDs.

Dec 4 - 07:59 AM


Mitch Jones

good god if this keeps up i might actually go outside and do something. this has to stop. oh wait never mind. forgot about video games. false alarm.

Dec 4 - 08:18 AM


Kevin Barrett

First of all, Merlin235, those camera operators, make-up people, etc. wouldn't have jobs in the first place if not for "mostly crappy TV shows". Secondly, can you really be so righteous about spending time watching TV when you spend time reading and b1tch1ng in web forums? Unless you're a movie snob, in which case I'll ignore all the "mostly crappy" movies and point out that writers of movies are on strike right next to the TV writers.

The quality - or lack thereof - of the writers work shouldn't even be an issue. Whatever you think of what they write, they write it, the producers produce it and make huge amounts of money off of it and the writers deserve a fair share of that. How can it not be painfully obvious how the producers continue to screw writers at every opportunity? They start with unfair contracts and add "creative" bookkeeping to complete the screw job.

Don't blame the writers for the strike. Blame the greedy producers.

Dec 4 - 08:24 AM


Matt Willmott

Yeah, it sucks to lose Lost for the time being, but I'm more worried about JERICHO. That show is fabulous, and precariously positioned -- narrowly saved from cancellation last Spring due to the the now-legendary rallying of the fan base, and with only seven episodes ordered for the second season, I hope the strike doesn't disrupt its bid for longevity.


Dec 4 - 08:58 AM



Now that Heroes finished last night, I'm out of new TV to watch asides from Football. Maybe I'll go find something productive to do....

Dec 4 - 10:08 AM


Adam Wascholl

My purchase of an HDTV, XBox 360, and a subscription of Gamefly couldn't have come at a better time.

Dec 4 - 10:40 AM


Ian Turner

are you kidding I love this strike, how else would we be witness to the fantasticness that is an American gladiator redux.

Dec 4 - 11:01 AM


Alpha Z

OMG the strike is continuing the world is coming to an end!

Isn't this a grand oporunity for those unknowns trying to get into the bus. and can't?

Dec 4 - 11:09 AM


Kevin Barrett

The only opportunity for "those unknowns" is to become scabs. And it's really not in their best interests. If the producers are so willing to continually screw with an organized and powerful bargaining unit like the WGA, how do you think they'd treat individuals willing to scrape and crawl and suck up whatever crumbs the producers decide to throw them?

Dec 4 - 12:25 PM


Hugh Jackman


Dec 4 - 12:51 PM


Merlin Ambrosius

kdbarrett -
I don't disagree that the camera operators wouldn't have a job w/o writers, but why would you even bring that up? The point is, you have some people striking, and the result is going to be thousands of other people unemployed (if the strike continues for a prolonged time). That's the only point I was making.
Secondly, I'm not being self-righteous about TV watching, but yes, most of the TV shows and most movies are absolutely horrible. And even if they WERE good, our time would be much better spent interacting with eachother than sitting in front of the boob tube. And the five minutes I spend on rottentomatoes every three days hardly disqualifies me from being able to comment on that.

Dec 4 - 01:16 PM


Matt Gamble

Bunch of greedy snobs.... I hope they all go to hell.

Dec 4 - 04:09 PM


Randal 1013

the writers better not hold out for too long. after a while, people are going to realize they dont really care about most of the crap that the writers were pulling out of their asses, and oops, the demand for writers will plummet and they'll end up with a worse deal than before the strike.

Dec 4 - 04:29 PM


Tyler D

How can be people be against them? You guys complaining about them or telling them to go to hell probably work in dead end jobs with no health insurance and no pension. Have fun working till youre 80, morons. These people are getting screwed over. They need to feed their families too... bottom line. American idiots. Yes, I'm American too.

Dec 4 - 07:09 PM


Alpha Z

Need to feed their famlies too? Is this like that football player that was getting payed millions of dollars but it wasn't enough because he had to feed his family?

Dec 4 - 11:55 PM


Paul Barrett

Sure there are some writers who make buttloads of money, just like there are some football players. But the average writer only makes a standard living wage, if that. Many of them have second jobs to help pay the bills while they're working for that breakthrough job.

And before we go into that "well, lots of people have to work two jobs to live," spiel, don't you imagine those people are working to make their lives better? That's all the writers are trying to do, too.

Dec 5 - 06:27 AM

CoUcH ToMaToE DoUgIe

Shawn Amoroso

wait a minute! Are you trying to tell me that i have to go longer without

the brillant story writers such as tina fey even Longer!!!! Hmmm, Kewl, m'kay;)then

again anymore of the this reality crap dominating the tv landscaoe and i fear the

viewing audience might reach deadly stupid levels... i'm talking flavor flavor dumb!!

Dec 4 - 10:14 PM

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