Despite 11th hour attempts to prevent a work stoppage, Hollywood writers went on strike today.
Renewed talks between the Writers Guild of America and networks and studios failed to halt the guild’s planned strike, despite the pressure of a federal mediator and a flurry of backchannel efforts.
According to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents production companies and studios, the talks collapsed because the WGA refused to halt their plans to start the strike on the East Coast today.
"Notwithstanding the fact that negotiations were ongoing, the WGA decided to start their strike in New York," the AMPTP said in a statement. "When we asked if they would 'stop the clock' for the purpose of delaying the strike to allow negotiations to continue, they refused. We made an attempt at meeting them in a number of their key areas including Internet streaming and jurisdiction in new media. Ultimately, the guild was unwilling to compromise on most of their major demands. It is unfortunate that they choose to take this irresponsible action."
This morning, picket lines in New York were manned by writers including actress-scribe Tina Fey of NBC’s “30 Rock.” Writers walked out after the two sides were unable to come to terms before their contract expired Oct. 31.
The WGA negotiating committee issued a statement saying they withdrew their DVD proposal from the table yesterday, which had sought to increase their cut of sales over the last agreement the two sides had. Yet networks and studios still held fast on several key points that negotiators considered unacceptable. The lingering issues several new media topics, including jurisdiction over most new media writing, keeping Internet downloads at the DVD rate, denying writers residuals for online streaming and a proposal that allows the industry to reuse entire shows for any online platform with no residual.
“The AMPTP made no response to any of the other proposals that the WGA has made since July,” the WGA said. “The AMPTP proposed that today's meeting be ‘off the record,’ meaning no press statements, but they have reneged on that.”
WGA West strike locations include CBS Radford Studios, CBS Television City, Culver Studios, Disney Studios, Fox Studios, Hollywood Center Studios, NBC Studios, Prospect Studios, Paramount Studios, Raleigh Studios, Sony Pictures Studios, Sunset Gower Studios, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Studios.
The WGA East generated a large turnout at Rockfeller Plaza in New York.
(Editor: Baumann. Updated at 8:38 a.m. PST