Hundreds of writers hit picket lines in New York and L.A.

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Wearing red WGA T-shirts and chanting slogans like "Be Fair, Give Us Our Share," hundreds of writers hit the picket line Monday morning in Burbank, CA after the Writers Guild of America failed to reach an 11th-hour agreement with studios on Sunday night. Over at the NBC lot, Jay Leno brought support, and Krispy Kreme donuts, to the 20 or so scribes on the picket lines by the front gates. "I’ve been working with these people for 20 years!" said a leather-clad Leno, who pulled up on his motorcycle. "People get the wrong idea about how much writers make. I know I’m real cheap and I don’t pay them anything. There aren’t many unions left. We have to stick together." The Tonight Show head writer Joe Medeiros, who was joined on the picket line by the head writers from Ellen and Last Call with Carson Daly, was heartened by the gesture. All three talk shows tape at the NBC lot, as does the NBC daytime drama Days of Our Lives. "It shows that Jay supports the men and women who have been with him," Medeiros said. "I’ve been with Jay since 1988. We’re like family. I appreciate the difficult position that he’s in, but I’m thrilled he’s out here supporting our cause."

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Less than two miles away at the ABC/Disney lot, more than 100
scribes were picketing the various gates on the lot where shows like Brothers and Sisters are taped. Adding gravitas to the picket line were showrunners from B&S, Lost, October Road, Reaper, and Kyle XY. "This is extremely important for showrunners," says B&S
creator Greg Berlanti. "Writers are going to watch them to see how they
behave in this process, and I think its important to remind the studios
and fellow writers about what’s important and why we are here." Added
Carlton Cuse, the Lost exec producer who was walking the picket
line with his fellow EP Damon Lindelof: "This is a legacy strike. Its
more about the future of the Guild for future writers. Any kind of
prolonged strike now will cost writers more now than they will gain in
the specific contract. It just feels like one of those seminal turning
points where the issue at stake is the future of the residual system."

Meanwhile, in New York, at least 200 writers came through the picket lines by mid-afternoon Monday. Even 30 Rock creator and star Tina Fey and SNL cast member Amy Poehler made it out to the tourist-laden Rockefeller Center around lunchtime to show their support. 

Though the writers’ negotiating committee was set to reconvene
today, there are no plans as of yet to resume talks with the
producers.

Less than two miles away at the ABC/Disney lot, more than 100scribes were picketing the various gates on the lot where shows like Brothers and Sisters are taped. Adding gravitas to the picket line were showrunners from B&S, Lost, October Road, Reaper, and Kyle XY. "This is extremely important for showrunners," says B&Screator Greg Berlanti. "Writers are going to watch them to see how theybehave in this process, and I think its important to remind the studiosand fellow writers about what’s important and why we are here." AddedCarlton Cuse, the Lost exec producer who was walking the picketline with his fellow EP Damon Lindelof: "This is a legacy strike. Itsmore about the future of the Guild for future writers. Any kind ofprolonged strike now will cost writers more now than they will gain inthe specific contract. It just feels like one of those seminal turningpoints where the issue at stake is the future of the residual system."

Meanwhile, in New York, at least 200 writers came through the picket lines by mid-afternoon Monday. Even 30 Rock creator and star Tina Fey and SNL cast member Amy Poehler made it out to the tourist-laden Rockefeller Center around lunchtime to show their support. 

Though the writers’ negotiating committee was set to reconvenetoday, there are no plans as of yet to resume talks with theproducers.


Comments (11 total) Add your comment
  • Ellipsian

    I’ma miss my shows, but good for you, Writers! Don’t settle for less than you’re worth!

  • Gena

    We support you writers!

  • Peter Aniskovich

    They are paid to write and they got paid to write. They are not actors and should not be eligible for residuals. If residuals are to be handed out to anyone who helped a show be created then residuals should be given to the camera men, the light crew, the guy who sweeps dirt off the stage etc…

  • To Peter

    Without writers, the actors wouldn’t have anything to say. There would be no structure to a show or movie. Hardly any actor is good enough to ad lib everything.

  • Adam

    The producers need to wake up and pay the writers in full.

  • Laura Reineke

    I only wish I could buy a t-shirt to support them myself.

  • lprice

    I thought I too would share the selfish, insipid response that our friend Peter shares if this strike came to a reality. Thankfully, that is not the case. To ignore the importance of the writer in the whole infrastructure of entertainment is ridiculous, and although I will be at a personal loss if this strike continues, I fully support the writers in this endeavor. The acting talent might bring the audience in, but I do believe it’s a lot harder to find a writer who can spin a plausible and shocking plot twist than someone who looks perfect and delivers a believable line and benefits by making more per episode than I will make in at least a year, or more likely 4-5. Good luck writers, and I will stay on the lookout for any way that a citizen such as myself can aid this cause.

  • Susan

    To Peter: You’re completely incorrect. The majority of actors, producers, directors and studio execs see cash in hand due to residuals for projects (including DVD sales.) Yet without the “writer who got paid to write,” they’d have nothing at all. It’s pretty simple, actually. Remember that the next time you laugh at a comedy – it took hours and a team of writers to put that smile on your face.

  • Kathi

    Peter (and anyone else who might share his viewpoint), Writers make the show worth watching. LOST is a prime example of an excellent, detailed, story-driven show. While the actors are wonderful, the writers make the show what it is. Several shows have actors come and go, but they remain hits. Because of the writing. Any good drama or comedy has a great writing staff. Just because you don’t SEE them, doesn’t mean that their presence isn’t felt.
    I support the Writers Guild.

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