The Writers Take It To The Street

By Rachel
November 22, 2007 - 6:19 AM

A parade of writers pounds the pavement.

Approximately 4,000 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and their supporters participated in a walk down Hollywood Boulevard on Tuesday. The rally was the final demonstration by the WGA prior to the Thanksgiving holiday and the resumed negotiations that will begin on Monday. With the upcoming return to the table, as well as the news blackout that will go along with it, both the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have been more selective with their comments and criticisms about each other.

Also on Tuesday, the CEOs of various networks sent out similar e-mails to their staff. The e-mail from CBS Corporation chief executive Les Moonves stated that despite the differences between both sides of this issue, "We continue to believe that with hard work, patience and understanding from both sides, they can be overcome." Some believe that the e-mail also contained the promise for more difficulties to come in the negotiations. "Suffice it to say that while we are committed to hammering out a fair deal with our WGA members, CBS cannot make an agreement that places our company at a disadvantage or makes it impossible for us to meet our commitments to our many constituencies," Moonves wrote, meaning that the network will not make a deal that it does not believe makes sense financially. He went on to say that both sides of the issue are facing the same problem, which is dealing with the changing reality of the industry. "Going forward, we must work together to craft a new contract that is fair and keeps our business strong," he said.

In CSI-related strike news, while CSI: New York was filming on location this past Monday, Gary Sinise took time out to walk across the street and speak with the writers who were picketing nearby. "Pretty soon, we will all be out of a job," he told them. CSI fans have also had a lot to say. In addition to getting a plane to fly over Universal Studios, some fans got hold of the number to Moonves' office and gave him a call--make that a lot of calls. Rob Kutner, a writer for The Daily Show, said that the fans called so many times that Moonves "had to hire two more assistants to take all the calls, and finally his secretary said to them, 'Les wants to know what he can do to make this go away.'"

These efforts are in addition to the "Pencils 2 Media Moguls" campaign, which has (so far) sent 240,000 pencils to the moguls who head the six corporate conglomerates, and an online petition which currently has nearly 58,000 signatures. Kutner said that "fan vocalization" through efforts like these might make a difference in the upcoming discussions. "I think if that kind of thing goes on, especially with the internet and YouTube and all that stuff, I think thereís a very possible counterforce that can come from the public and can sway the debate a little bit," he said.

The article about the rally on Hollywood Boulevard is from Variety. Read more about Sinise's chat with the writers at View From a Loft. The interview with Kutner can be read in its entirety at Cinema Blend.

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