Strike News Roundup: Monday, Nov. 12
News Corp.’s Chernin Rankles Writers
During a meeting Wednesday with financial analysts, News Corp. president Peter Chernin said the WGA strike could be a good thing for Fox, as the savings in not paying writers more than offset the loss in potential advertising, the Los Angeles Times reports. Fox is positioned well for the strike, as “American Idol” is a ratings juggernaut, and the channel has fewer hours in prime time to programming, the Times says.
Agents Might Bring Producers, Writers Back to Table
Agents are talking with negotiating heads of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and the WGA in the interest of goading them back to the bargaining table, Deadline Hollywood Daily reports. Inside sources are telling the blog that a phone call will happen at some point in the near future between AMPTP president Nick Counter and WGA negotiating head Dave Young.
Strike’s Second Week Spells Potential Layoffs
With series production halting and writers in their second week of picketing, layoffs for non-writing staff are becoming a definite possibility for Hollywood workers, Daily Variety reports. Studios also could try to trigger so-called force majeure clauses in contracts with actors and others that would let the producers avoid some liabilities by citing the superseding event of the strike. Force majeure clauses usually aren’t enacted until six weeks of work stoppage, Daily Variety says. Some speculate the studios are dragging their feet on returning to the bargaining table. Also on the chopping block are writers’ assistants, whom some studios have fired no less than three days into the strike, as with Fox’s “Family Guy,” the paper says.
Pilots Ready in the Wings During Strike
Dozens of TV series pilots were stockpiled in the lead-up to the current Writers Guild of America strike, which gives networks programming options as the strike continues, Daily Variety says. While most pilot scripts aren’t completely polished for air, some are currently being shot or already are in the can, including Fox drama “The Oaks” and CBS drama “The Kingdom,” the newspaper says.
Lacking Late Night Could Boost ‘Nightline’
ABC’s “Nightline” could receive a shot in the arm, ratings-wise, as its late-night brethren go into reruns, Broadcasting & Cable reports. The news show, perennially third in its time slot behind NBC and CBS, is looking to push its news content as alternative programming to the stream of reruns airing at the same time, B&C says. “Nightline” is banking on having the opportunity to be seen by people who don’t normally watch the news show, B&C reports.
Strike Crunches Budget for Low-Level Workers
The writers aren’t the only people affected by the strike, as layoffs of craft services, grips and background artists are putting a squeeze on already tight budgets, the Hollywood Reporter says. Lower-level studio workers who are hired week-to-week, such as those in the post-production industry, are scrambling to find alternate work in order to pay bills as layoffs seem eminent, the Reporter reports.
‘Scrubs’ in Limbo Over Series Finale
NBC’s “Scrubs’” final season is in jeopardy as creator Bill Lawrence refused to quickly write a series finale that would have served as a backup if the strike continues, the Hollywood Reporter says. Seven of the show’s 18 episodes haven’t been written yet, and Mr. Lawrence said he wants to end the series properly, even it means doing it himself, the Reporter says.
-By Andrew Krukowski