In Depth

WGA Strike Roundup: Tuesday, Jan. 29

WGA, Studios Narrowing Gap in Informal Talks
The Writers Guild of America and the networks and studios Monday moved closer to outlining an agreement after a week of informal talks, narrowing the gap on issues such as dividing earnings from online television and movie distribution, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing people familiar with the situation. The sides remain apart on issues such as union control over material created exclusively for the Internet, the newspaper said.

Strike May Shift $100 Million in Ads From TV to Movie Theaters
The Writers Guild strike may shift $100 million in advertising to cinemas from prime-time television because of declining TV ratings, Advertising Age reported. Advertising buyer MediaVest, which represents companies such as Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble and Capital One, has started talks with cinema advertising networks National CineMedia and Screenvision because the lack of original prime-time TV programming has hurt ratings, the magazine said, citing Donna Speciale, president-investment and activation at Publicis Groupe unit MediaVest.

SAG Members Join WGA Rally at Fox
About 500 Screen Actors Guild members attended a Writers Guild of America rally outside Fox Studios Monday as a show of support for the writers strike, Daily Variety reported. SAG President Alan Rosenberg said at the 30-minute rally that the 1985 contract has cost WGA and SAG members a combined $6 billion because of what he called a discounted formula for measuring home video residual revenue, the newspaper said.

Writers' Rights to Characters a Difficult Issue in Talks
Discussions involving TV and film writers’ rights to use material for book or stageplay treatments may be lengthening informal Writers Guild of America strike talks with studios, which began a week ago, the Hollywood Reporter said, citing former WGA West counsel Jonathan Handel. So-called separated rights, in which writers can use their characters in other work, is “a very complicated concept and could be taking a lot of time,” the newspaper said, citing Handel.

—Danny King