Strike News Roundup: Thurs., Nov. 8
Strike May Force Job Cuts:
Companies that don’t currently have shows in production with studios could be receiving suspension letters as soon as today, a move that could cost lower-level workers their jobs, the Los Angeles Times reports. The early move by the studios outlines how rocky the discussions are between writers and producers, the Times says.
Writers Avoid Handing Over Scripts to Union:
Many WGA writers are ignoring strike rule 8, which states members must hand over in-progress scripts to the union during a strike, Daily Variety reports. Studios sent letters to literary agents threatening litigation alleging breach of contract if writers surrendered their scripts, and writers are heeding the call, the newspaper says.
UCLA Students Warned on Scabbing:
UCLA screenwriting students have received letters urging them not to undermine the WGA strike by scabbing, Daily Variety says. Screenwriting faculty at UCLA are warning students that trying to build a writing career through scab work is potentially disastrous, the article reports.
Showrunners Rally at Disney:
Showrunners for several programs, including “Family Guy,” “24” and “The Office,” picketed outside of Disney Studios in Los Angeles on Nov. 7, Daily Variety reports. The show runners are being threatened by studios, namely Fox and CBS, with the possibility of breach-of-contract lawsuits if they do not return to work. The list of shows the strike has halted continues to grow. “Family Guy” is only set up through its upcoming episode, and “The Office” has material to last until Nov. 15. The premiere of “24” has been indefinitely postponed, the newspaper says.
‘Grey’s,’ ‘Back to You’ Stars Hit the Line:
“Grey’s Anatomy” stars Katherine Heigl, Sandra Oh and T.R. Knight were slated to picket Prospect Studios in Los Angeles, while “Back to You” star Patricia Heaton was seen walking the line at the Fox Studios, Deadline Hollywood Daily says. Also, the producers say Teamsters who work on TV shows are crossing the picket line, the blog reports.
WGAE Pickets Sound More Like Red-Carpet Affairs:
Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan, David Hyde Pierce, cast members from “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Saturday Night Live” are all scheduled to be at WGA East pickets today, making the strike more like a celebrity-sighting excursion, Broadcast & Cable reports. Rev. Jesse Jackson, Ray Romano and the cast of “Ugly Betty” are planning to attend West Coast strike events, the newspaper says.
Soaps Will Continue on Networks:
Soap opera fans can breathe easier as the serial dramas will continue for the time being in the face of the strike, the New York Times reports. Most soaps have scripts mapped out until around January or beyond. The networks aren’t talking about what happens after that, or whether they will trust scripts to scab writers or producers who lack writing experience.