Writers Strike News Roundup: Thurs., Dec. 6
(Updated 1:30 p.m.)
Writers Pressure Directors to Hold Off on Contract Talks
With the Writers Guild of America in its second week of talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the Directors Guild of America is in an awkward situation as it prepares to renegotiate its contract, Daily Variety reports. The WGA is unofficially asking the DGA to avoid scheduling its talks with the AMPTP, as an early deal with producers might undermine the WGA’s efforts towards a new media deal, the newspaper says.
Writers, Producers Upbeat After Wednesday Talks
Both sides of the writers strike were optimistic on finding common ground after leaving contract talks on Wednesday, the Hollywood Reporter says. The WGA and the AMPTP released cautiously upbeat press releases, commenting on the forward progress the two sides were making. Wednesday’s talks revolved around the WGA’s counter-proposal to the AMPTP’s streaming residual plan, as well as looking for jurisdiction over reality television and animation, the newspaper says.
Producers Muscle Up Public Image Corps
Mark Fabiani and Chris Lehane, senior aides and advisors to President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, and Steve Schmidt, campaign manager to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, have been tapped by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to help with its public image during the strike, the Los Angeles Times reports. The trio is replacing the AMPTP’s 25-year veteran PR leader Barbara Brogliatti.
Sixth Day of Talks Dominated by Reality TV
The Writers Guild of America urged the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to stop dealing with reality television production companies until they become WGA signatories, granting union benefits to writers, during Wednesday talks to end the strike, Deadline Hollywood Daily says. Producers were irked by the move, with one saying the talks were going backwards, the blog reports.
Different Interests Force Cracks in Producers’ Front
While producers look to protect their interests at the bargaining table, production companies aren’t as united in the process as they might seem, the Wall Street Journal reports (Subscription required.) CBS, Disney (ABC) and General Electric (NBC) all have reason to push towards a shorter strike, while Time-Warner and News Corp. could stand to hold firm on certain issues, the WSJ says.
CBS Pursues Films Scripts as Pilots
CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler has been asking Hollywood producers about finished film scripts that would lend themselves to be shot as new television series, Daily Variety reports. The scripts, which would be complete, wouldn’t be filmed in full, but rather cherry-picked for important scenes that could be built into a television pilot, the newspaper says.
Strike Draws Opposite Reactions Coast to Coast
While the West Coast can’t help but be inundated with strike-related news, observers have said that East Coast coverage of the writers strike has been timid and less than urgent, Daily Variety reports. One New York insider said the writers strike isn’t even on the radar of most New Yorkers. Insiders feel that Hollywood is an industry town, with a lot of people tied to entertainment, making it a front and center issue. In contrast, New York has a smaller number of people directly affected by the strike and difficult weather conditions make it difficult for picketers, the newspaper says.