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Writers Picket With Star Power

Posted on Nov 5, 2007
protesting writers

Writers began picketing network and studio headquarters on Monday, with the support of several celebrities and, courtesy of Jay Leno, a couple of boxes of doughnuts. There’s no telling how long the strike will last, but parallels to the 1988 walkout that cost Hollywood an estimated half a billion dollars have already been drawn.

The core issue here is how much of the new media pie the writers will be allowed to profit from. As producers increasingly look elsewhere for profits in this YouTube world, writers want their piece of the action. And we may be stuck with reruns and reality TV until they get it.

It should be noted that while the writers strike has been received with snickers by some, many writers don’t actually make much money, if they get work at all. Besides which the film and television industry is perhaps the most unionized in the world, and one of the only businesses in the American private sector where unions continue to thrive.

Los Angeles Times:

The striking began in earnest at 9 a.m. local time in New York, with “30 Rock” writer and star Tina Fey and others picketing outside Rockefeller Center on a frigid morning. A few hours later, at 9 a.m. West Coast time, hundreds of writers took to picket lines throughout the area: More than a hundred gathered outside Disney in Burbank, many dressed in red Writers Guild T-shirts. The writers were handed lyrics to several pro-union chants, including, “Network bosses, rich and rude, We don’t like your attitude!”

While many of the picket lines conjured up a jovial, party atmosphere as writers let loose their frustrations with negotiations that broke down at the eleventh-hour on Sunday night, there were smatterings of ugliness: A picketing writer was struck and injured by a car outside the Sunset-Gower Studios parking lot, allegedly by a driver who witnesses said threatened to run over the strikers if they didn’t move out of his way.

There was plenty of star power to go around. Late night talk show host Jay Leno, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Oscar-winning “Terms of Endearment” writer-director James L. Brooks were among those lending their support on the picket lines early today.

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By, November 7, 2007 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment
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If the writers are all on strike, who is writing for the News reporters? They seem to be scripted nightly just as always:)>

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By DennisD, November 6, 2007 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment
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#111866 by generic230 on 11/05 at 10:10 pm

I have to admit being able to rattle off a list like that is pretty damn impressive in some kind of way.

Some good shows, some great shows and some garbage but all variations of the same basic themes since literature and writing began. Even the greatest authors rewrite themselves before too long in some way, shape or form. 

The real question should be how many books have you read in that same period of time besides the TV Guide?

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By Leefeller, November 6, 2007 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

Networks can outsource their writing to India, the dialog may seem different, but who cares.  Unions have been decimated by special interests for a long time now. So this last stand may be important for the common man. Sad, but the common man believes what are fed and programed to believe by the media, so what should be important to the common man is not known to them. 

Actually the writers may be a part of the problem, since they are directed to write what the programs want them to write?  Anyone know?

I do not watch TV so the pabulum feeding networks are not on my radar, but unions used to be, and the common man still is, I believe.

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By generic230, November 5, 2007 at 11:10 pm Link to this comment
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I guess when you say “original programming” you include Lost, Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos, Weeds, ER, Law & Order, Heroes, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, The Shield, Damages, Mad Men, The Office, The Closer, Monk, The Dead Zone, CSI, The Unit, House, Peison Break, 24, Pushing Daisies, Private Practice, Criminal Minds, Cold Case, The Riches, Dexter, Everybody Hates Chris, Army Wives, Jericho, Flight of the Conchords, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,My Name is Earl, Nip/Tuck, NCIS, Numbers, The new Adventures of Old Christine, Penn & Teller: Bullshit, 30 Rock, Ugly Betty, Family Guy, Bury my heart at Wounded Knee, Without a Trace, Cold Case, The Dead Zone, Psych, Deadwood, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, American Dad, The Daily Show, The Cobert Report, The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, The Conan O’Brien show, Drawn Together, South Park, Blood Diamonds (Docu), The Company (Mini Series), Elizabeth 1, Rome, Broken Trail, Longford, Prime Suspect 7… That’s just this year.  But you said decades, so. I guess that means The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, MASH, Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blues, Seinfeld, Freinds, Roseanne, All in the Family…

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By DennisD, November 5, 2007 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment
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Since original programming had all but disappeared from TV decades ago, who’ll even notice the writers have left.

I hope this doesn’t mean that “reality” shows will contain actual reality now. We just couldn’t handle that kind of truth.

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