Writers picket at 30 Rock

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After a long Sunday of 11th-hour talks between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, neither side conceded and the strike is on. This morning, at least 40 writers took to the streets of Manhattan, holding up “On strike” placards, chanting “No contract, no show,” and handing out flyers (pictured) around Rockefeller Center asking tourists to support the writers of their “favorite sitcoms, dramas, late night shows, soap operas, and movies.”

Among those on the scene at 30 Rock: Amy Sherman-Palladino and husband Daniel Palladino, the brains behind Gilmore Girls and the upcoming The Return of Jezebel James — the writer-director-producers were asking for picket signs shortly after 9 a.m. this morning. “It’s a time to remember that there are things bigger than yourself and these are issues that affect so many generations of writers to come,” said Sherman-Palladino, who’s been in town working on James.

Many writers say there’s a lot of leftover baggage from previous
negotiations, in which residuals for DVD sales and new media
distribution were put on the backburner. (Says Sherman-Palladino, “The
last time we, I believe, got sold down the river.”) During last night’s
last-ditch efforts to come to a resolution, the WGA says they took
their proposal for increased DVD residuals off the table in a
good-faith effort to come to an agreement. But it wasn’t enough to get
past disagreements over new-media distribution, and talks came to a
halt around 9:30 p.m. PDT. The leaders of the AMPTP, meanwhile, say
they “asked the writers to consider delaying the strike to allow
negotiations to continue,” but the WGA refused.

Late-night TV will be the first to be affected by the strike, starting tonight in most cases. John Oliver, a writer-actor from The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
who was marching at 30 Rock this morning, says he and his colleagues
were still writing on Friday in hopes that a strike would somehow be
averted. “But there will be no show tonight. We’re off tonight, the
rest of the week, and the rest of the month. Well, let’s hope it
doesn’t come to that.”

Many writers say there’s a lot of leftover baggage from previousnegotiations, in which residuals for DVD sales and new mediadistribution were put on the backburner. (Says Sherman-Palladino, “Thelast time we, I believe, got sold down the river.”) During last night’slast-ditch efforts to come to a resolution, the WGA says they tooktheir proposal for increased DVD residuals off the table in agood-faith effort to come to an agreement. But it wasn’t enough to getpast disagreements over new-media distribution, and talks came to ahalt around 9:30 p.m. PDT. The leaders of the AMPTP, meanwhile, saythey “asked the writers to consider delaying the strike to allownegotiations to continue,” but the WGA refused.

Late-night TV will be the first to be affected by the strike, starting tonight in most cases. John Oliver, a writer-actor from The Daily Show With Jon Stewartwho was marching at 30 Rock this morning, says he and his colleagueswere still writing on Friday in hopes that a strike would somehow beaverted. “But there will be no show tonight. We’re off tonight, therest of the week, and the rest of the month. Well, let’s hope itdoesn’t come to that.”

Comments (37 total) Add your comment
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  • Stacey

    I keep thinking of the hilarious news bit SNL did this week with Fred Armisen as the studio suit – saying he couldn’t help the writers because he didn’t have $200k, he only had $20M. I will miss the Daily Show and the brilliant John Oliver, but I’ll be catching up on Tivo and DVD’s until the suits come to their senses.

  • Christie

    So many people besides execs and writers are going to be affected by this strike! Eventually my husband, a grip, won’t be able to work and other people not even necessarily in the biz won’t have work. So devastating to so many people and of course over money. Please compromise people…for the greater good. Think of all the people affected by this!!! Figure it out and fast!

  • Rob

    I think that if the studios are making extra income from sales of DVDs, online content, etc, then the writers (and the rest of the production teams) should all be compensated. It’s the fair thing to do.
    Hopefully the strike won’t go on too long, and the writer’s will get thair fair share of the profits.

  • Kelley

    I’ve been following this story for a while now and what baffles me is the numbers. The WGA doesn’t appear to be asking for that much in comparison to what the studios are making. I hope for the sake of the audiences and paycheck to paycheck workers that this gets sorted out. While I think studios could have easily averted this whole crisis by looking at the bigger picture, which is “Without new, quality goods making money is going to be incredibly difficult,” a compromise is in order.

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