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StrikeWatch: Day Five

It's Day Five of the writers strike here in Los Angeles and there's been no movement towards resolution (or reconciliation) this week since the strike began on Monday morning and no talks are planned for anytime soon.

WGA president Patric Verrone said that he wanted to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible but added that the timing for that would be determined "when the companies are ready" to negotiate. The ball then, according to Verrone, is firmly in the studio's courts.

A massive strike rally is planned for 10 am this morning by the writers at Fox. It's believed that between 2000 and 4000 people will join in during this en masse rally, the biggest yet this week. For more details about today's rally at Fox, please visit UnitedHollywood.com. Expected speakers include WGA West President Patric Verrone and SAG President Alan Rosenberg and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello will begin the event with an acoustic set. Meanwhile, Fox employees girded themselves for complications arising from the rally.

Elsewhere, The Office showrunner Greg Daniels has spoken to E! Online about the writers' position and specifically that of the NBC series' writers, who find themselves in a very unique position with the new media issue currently at the very heart of the WGA's fight. The Office only currently has one episode left to air and had been prepping the final written script when production was shut down earlier this week.

It's an intelligent and compelling interview that's filled with concrete information about what's at stake for the writers during this strike. On the new media issue, Daniels had this to say:
"... The main thing I think that's special about The Office, even more so than the writer-performers—although that is what gets SAG and WGA working together—is that we're very much aware of the future. You know, we had 7 million downloads on iTunes. We are the big draw on NBC.com. We did webisodes before anybody did webisodes. We won the Daytime Emmy for our webisodes. None of this stuff did we get paid for and, you know, this is the future of TV. We've seen the future because we've kind of lived it, and so we're very much aware that the business model is fantastic for the companies. The ad rates are much higher for Internet ads than they are for TV ads, because you can't skip 'em. You have to watch 'em, and they can tailor them to the consumers. So, they're very valuable ads.

It's obvious that all TV entertainment will come through the Internet soon. They're going to make a ton of money through it, and they know it, and that's what they're fighting for. They've made projections that if they have to give a few crumbs to the writers and actors, it'll reduce these gigantic profits from the Internet by a certain amount, and they're willing to try and keep that amount in their pockets and take the strike now."
Hollywood producers now looking elsewhere for writers may turn to the shores of the United Kingdom, says Variety, given the fact that the WGA has no jurisdiction overseas. Of course, the issue brings up a debate as to whether British writers should work on projects involving US studios... and could impact said writers' ability to enter the WGA in the future. "We are contacting the major U.K. broadcasters and producers, and the U.K. Film Council, asking them not to dump U.K. material into the U.S. market and not to dress up American projects to look as though they are British," said Writers Guild of Great Britain general secretary Bernie Corbett. "Strike-breaking would at best be a short-term payday but would have a devastating long-term effect on a writer's U.S. career."

Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily reports on a plan by a producer to "shame" studios and WGA into restarting negotiation talks on behalf of people who have lost their jobs as a result of the strike.

A public petition has been started in favor of the writers strike and their agreement "with the WGA's stated goals of obtaining just and fair compensation regarding revenues generated through "new media"." As of this time, the petition had generated 12,717 signatures.

Finally, Damon Lindelof is not in favor of ABC airing the eight episodes of Lost that will be produced. "That would not be ideal," Lindelof told Variety's Joseph Adalian. "It would be a lot like airing the six last year." Fans of the series will remember the slightly, er, lackluster quality of those first six episodes which injured the pacing and momentum of the series' third season.

Stay tuned.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I think Greg Daniels really hit the nail on the head. Even if no one's making that much money off the internet now...it's obviously where the future of entertainment is headed and preparations need to be made to fairly compensate everyone whose work will be seen online, not just the studios who are poised to profit the most from it.
Anonymous said…
I agree. Internet will definitely be the lifeblood of this industry if not next year then by 2009.

Thanks for keeping us up to date with these updates. It's scary to me how most people seem totally unaware that this is even going on, much less that it's going to affect people's lives and people's favorite shows.

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