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StrikeWatch: Day 32

Welcome to Day 32 of the WGA Strike.

Cautious optimism are the words du jour as talks between the WGA and the AMPTP continue. Negotiations are set to resume this morning at 10 am PT after yesterday's encouraging talks that had both sides nearing some sort of common ground on several looming issues.

The WGA released its end-of-day statement, which contained language far more encouraging than anything thus far:
"The Writers Guilds met today with the AMPTP and discussed issues of jurisdiction for original content for the Internet, Reality TV, Animation, and Basic Cable. The talks also were focused on contract enforcement. For the last two days, we have had substantive discussions of the issues important to writers, the first time this has occurred in this negotiation. However, we are still waiting for the AMPTP to respond to all of our proposals, including Internet streaming of theatrical and television product and digital downloads."
And the AMPTP released their own statement as well:
"Negotiations with the WGA continued throughout the day and at the request of the Guild no joint sessions occurred during the evening. We will resume tomorrow. We remain committed to making a fair and reasonable deal. We believe that there is common ground to be found between the two sides that will put all of us in the entertainment industry in a better position to survive and prosper in what is a rapidly changing modern, global marketplace."
Wow. I never thought I'd see the usage of "fair and reasonable" coming from the studios. Let's just hope they put their money were their mouth is and come up with an agreement that is just that: fair and resonable.

One hot topic, however is the matter of Reality Television writers; the WGA had tried in vain to get these writers organized under their union and failed in the past. Apparently, the Guild is demanding that networks and studios no longer sign deals with reality producers like Mark Burnett Productions, Fremantle, Endemol, etc. unless those companies become WGA signatories. Expectedly, the other hot button issue is online compensation.

Elsewhere, CBS is said to be turning to feature scripts for possible pilot presentation material, a move that worked wonders for Warner Bros. several years back when it dusted off an unproducted feature script called EW by Michael Crichton and then transformed it into medical drama behemoth ER, reaching its 300th episode tonight.

Stay tuned.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Survivor: China (CBS); My Name is Earl/30 Rock (NBC); Smallville (CW); Ugly Betty (ABC); Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? (FOX)

9 pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS); The Office/Scrubs (NBC); Supernatural (CW); Grey's Anatomy (ABC); Don't Forget the Lyrics (FOX)

10 pm: Without a Trace (CBS); ER (NBC); Barbara Walters Special: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2007 (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Ugly Betty.

On tonight's episode ("Bananas for Betty"), Betty drags Henry on a double date with Hilda and Gio (um, okay) and Betty White drops in to tangle with the evil Wilhelmina, who is in the process of transforming her image post Mode-departure.

8:30 pm: 30 Rock.

On tonight's episode ("Secrets and Lies"), Jack and C.C. face a crisis when she suggests they take their relationship public, while Liz attempts to satisfy the diva-like needs of her two stars, Tracy and Jenna. If it's half as hilarious as last week's episode, I will be a happy, happy boy.

9 pm: The Office.

On tonight's repeat episode from Season Three ("Business School"), t's time to relive the brilliance that was the guest direction by Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon. In this episode, Michael agrees to give a presentation at Ryan's business school, while back at the office, Dwight must deal with a bat that has gotten loose inside the Dunder-Mifflin offices.

9-10:30 pm: Top Chef Holiday Special on Bravo.

The perfect antidote to a stress-filled holiday and strike season: curling up on the sofa to catch up with the gang from Top Chef. In this brand-new special, past contestants including Stephen, Tiffani, Betty, Marcel, and Tre return to spice up the holidays.


Anonymous said…
Jace, thanks again for the strike updates. This does sound encouraging but I won't hold my breath quite yet. At least they're still talking and, hopefully, making some progress.
Grove said…
Hi Jace,
I like your column a lot, but feel the need to point out that the story about Michael Crichton's feature script being turned into a successful TV series is a news plant by the studios to try to strike fear in the hearts of the WGA. Safe to assume that when Warner Brothers "dusted it off" and "turned it into" a TV pilot there was a quite a bit of writing involved. Feature scripts are so drastically different from pilot scripts in structure (to say nothing of length!) that this little tidbit in Variety amounts to a hollow threat.
TV Guy said…
Can't wait for 30 Rock!!!! I usually watch it in HD on my local time, but today I'm going to watch it via the New York feed.

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