Strike Day 1 in L.A.: Writers picket CBS, Fox

Striking writers walked picket lines all over Los Angeles on Monday. The Hollywood Insider caught up with a few of the roughly 65 folks who were at CBS Television City. David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, the creators of Will & Grace, talked about how the strike could impact a new comedy pilot that they have in the works at Warner Bros. “Whatever the Guild rules are, I will abide by them,” Kohan said. “I would like to do whatever I can do to get it made. But I will only do as much as my union will permit me to do…. We are picketing. We’re striking! I hate the producer in me!” Nearby, actor Jonathan Tucker (In the Valley of Elah) marched in solidarity with two young writer friends, Frank E. Flowers and Jesse Wigutow. “I think that the writers are some of the most underappreciated and underpaid members of the entertainment community,” said Tucker, who added that he was likely going to head over to the picket line at the Paramount lot later in the day.

Meanwhile, nearly 90 protesters packed the morning shift at the main gate at the Fox lot. (Strike captains reported more than 500 picketers stood at various entry points to that studio throughout the day.) Among them, writer/producer/director James L. Brooks. “When it gets down to it — and almost every hyphenate goes through this — you do an identity check and you want to be here,” said Brooks, amid a near-constant stream of cars, trucks, and even the occasional fire engine, honking in support. Not far away, Simpsons consulting producer Mike Scully marched as best he could with a broken ankle. “I’m counting each hour as two hours — that’s what it feels like,” he quipped. “None of these writers wants to strike. I don’t know any writer who wanted to do this. We all felt we had to, and that’s the difference.” Echoed screenwriter/strike captain Erich Hoeber, “God knows we’d all rather be writing, but we’ll be here as long as it takes.” (Additional reporting by Dan Snierson)

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