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Hollywood Writers Vote To Authorize Strike!; Guild's contract expires Oct. 31
Topic Started: Oct 20 2007, 12:53 AM (824 Views)
Miss Rhi
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"If Sami can't find happiness with a Martian, then she can't find happiness with anyone."

MSNBC News Services

LOS ANGELES - Hollywood edged closer to possible labor unrest on Friday after film and TV writers overwhelmingly authorized their union to call a strike if no contract deal is reached with the studios by month’s end.

Over 90 percent of the Writers Guild of America members taking part in the authorization vote backed the union’s request for advance approval to declare a walkout should negotiators fail to conclude a settlement once the current contract expires.

The more than 5,500 ballots cast marks the largest voter turnout ever for the guild, surpassing the 4,100 cast in its 2001 contract ratification, the union said.

"Writers do not want to strike, but they are resolute and prepared to take strong, united action to defend our interests," said Patric M. Verrone, president of the union's western guild. "What we must have is a contract that gives us the ability to keep up with the financial success of this ever-expanding global industry."

The WGA and studios remain sharply divided over union demands for higher “residual” fees, a key source of writers’ income for TV and film work that gets reused in such formats as reruns and DVDs after initial broadcast or theatrical release.

The existing three-year contract covering the guild’s 12,000 members expires on October 31. WGA members could continue working under the terms of the old pact beyond that date if both sides mutually agree to keep negotiating.

Scripts being stockpiled


But studios and TV networks have been treating the end of the month as a de facto strike deadline as they stockpile scripts and speed up production on some projects in anticipation of a walkout.

Obtaining strike authorization is a step unions routinely take during labor talks, and union leaders said the outcome of the vote demonstrated the resolve of rank-and-file members.

“Writers have spoken in resounding numbers to give our negotiating committee the power we need to negotiate a fair deal,” John Bowman, the panel’s chairman, said in a statement.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, issued a brief statement saying the outcome was no surprise, adding “Our focus is on negotiating a reasonable agreement with the WGA.”

The authorization does not set a deadline for a walkout to begin. It merely empowers the guild’s governing board, in consultation with the WGA’s negotiating committee, to call a strike if they deem it necessary, after the contract lapses.

Last strike was nearly 20 years ago

Hollywood screenwriters last walked off the job in 1988 in a 22-week strike that delayed the fall TV season and cost the industry a reported $500 million.

Earlier this week, studios sought to remove a major sticking point in the current talks by withdrawing a proposal to revamp residuals in such a way as to withhold those payments until after production and development costs were recouped.

But producers also have vowed to resist writers’ demands for greater residuals on DVDs, digital downloads, pay-television or basic cable.

The next round of bargaining, the 11th face-to-face session since talks began in July, is scheduled to begin on Monday.

The outcome of the writers guild talks also sets the stage for subsequent negotiations with actors and directors, whose separate contracts run out next summer.

Linked
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pspcindy
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I have a sinking feeling that the studios will remain resistant and the writers will hold firm on demands.

All of television may be in for a tough time soon.

In view of that possibility, I wonder how the soaps will fare. With the troubled climate within which soaps are operating just now, I wonder how this will affect the shows we love to watch. Also if the strike does go down, who will be writing Days...Corday? EEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKK!!
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Kenny
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I was just reading another article (posted at SON) that says that in the event of a strike, rather than hiring scab writers for daytime soap operas or airing reruns (due to serialized nature of soaps, reruns wouldn't fare well), networks plan to just air news/sports programming in their place.

It'll be just like the OJ trial all over again. Nothing but pre-emptions for weeks on end!

...and that WILL kill daytime.
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Jonatha


Kenny
Oct 20 2007, 09:35 AM
I was just reading another article (posted at SON) that says that in the event of a strike, rather than hiring scab writers for daytime soap operas or airing reruns (due to serialized nature of soaps, reruns wouldn't fare well), networks plan to just air news/sports programming in their place.

It'll be just like the OJ trial all over again. Nothing but pre-emptions for weeks on end!

...and that WILL kill daytime.

Yes it will kill daytime, Kenny. No, no, no! If there is a strike I want to see old episodes of my soaps. They did that some 20 years ago and why can't they do that again? Damn it! :drunk:
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daysfan
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Kenny
Oct 20 2007, 09:35 AM
I was just reading another article (posted at SON) that says that in the event of a strike, rather than hiring scab writers for daytime soap operas or airing reruns (due to serialized nature of soaps, reruns wouldn't fare well), networks plan to just air news/sports programming in their place.

It'll be just like the OJ trial all over again. Nothing but pre-emptions for weeks on end!

...and that WILL kill daytime.

Yeah I read that too and posted it in the other strike thread.

And it just upsets me so much because I certainly would not want preemptions that we have no idea when will end.

I want to see new blood in daytime, or reruns! Rerruns would be CLASSIC, and new writers would be great.

Hell, they should just hire people like us to write the shows. :lol:

But this is still so angering. Losing all nine soaps for possibly months?
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Kenny
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I wouldn't mind reruns of soaps, as long as they're CLASSICS... not just shit from last year.
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Jonatha


Kenny
Oct 20 2007, 10:08 AM
I wouldn't mind reruns of soaps, as long as they're CLASSICS... not just shit from last year.

That's what I'm talking about, Kenny. Some years ago during a writer's stike NBC showed classic episodes of AW, Days and even The Doctors which had been cancelled. It was so great. :)
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pspcindy
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I agree Jonatha. Seems to me a perfect solution to fill daytime soap slots for any strike period.

I would love to see all three NBC soaps in classic episodes. Can you imagine seeing Liz Hubbard and Julia Duffy in "The Doctors"? Also I just adore AW. I still mourn its cancellation.
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juppiter


I find it hard to believe that CBS and ABC would not show their soaps for weeks on end. They learned their lessons from OJ. You can't pre-empt something for weeks on end and expect the audience to still be there.

I think actors and production people would be expected to fill in the blanks while the writers are gone.
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px780
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Streetcorner Philosopher

Y'know, I get why they want to strike but with the crap they've all been spewing lately- not just on soaps- they've got some balls. Oh no, deprive me of another movie derived from a comic book with decades of plots! Or another primetime drama ripped from the headlines episode after episode! Losers.

I'm with y'all on the classics, because I would hate to see a strike kill daytime dramas.
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IMissAremid
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After all... tomorrow is another day!

Yikes, guys.

LOS ANGELES - Hollywood writers and producers broke off contract talks Wednesday night without a new deal, allowing the Writers Guild of America’s current pact to expire at midnight.

It wasn’t immediately known whether the writers will walk off the job. A call to a union spokesman was not immediately returned.

No new talks were scheduled for Thursday, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said in a statement.

Both sides had resumed negotiations earlier in the day with the help of a federal mediator, and the writers submitted a revamped contract proposal with the hope of avoiding a strike.

Details of the proposal were not released, but it appears both sides couldn’t agree on whether to give writers more money from the sale of DVDs and the distribution of shows via the Internet, cell phones and other digital platforms.

Producers have said they wouldn’t agree to anything that would restrict their ability to experiment with new Internet and other digital delivery options for films and TV shows.

Calling it “the DVD issue,” AMPTP President Nick Counter said in a statement to the writers guild that it was blocking both sides from making further progress in their talks.

“We want to make a deal,” Counter said. “But, as I said, no further movement is possible to close the gap between us so long as your DVD proposal remains on the table.”

Members of the guild recently voted to authorize their first strike since 1988 if necessary. The union has set a meeting of its 12,000 members for Thursday night at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Jonathan Handel, an entertainment lawyer at the Los Angeles law firm of TroyGould, said it was in the union’s interest to delay a walkout, perhaps by five days or more.

“The writers guild has two weapons: One is a strike, the other is the threat of a strike. It has no reason to toss that weapon away without using it for a bit,” said Handel, who served in the 1990s as an associate counsel for the guild.

Reality shows, news programs and reruns loom
A strike by writers would not immediately impact film or prime-time TV production. Most studios have stockpiled dozens of movie scripts, and TV shows have enough scripts or completed shows in hand to last until early next year.

After that, networks might turn to reality shows, news programs and reruns to fill the prime-time airwaves. Late-night shows wouldn’t fare as well, since they are more dependent on current events to fuel monologues and other entertainment.

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” will almost certainly be forced into reruns by a lack of fresh skits and monologues if writers walk off the job.

“If the strike happens, we are very likely looking at repeats for both shows,” said Tony Fox, a spokesman for Comedy Central, which airs the shows starring Stewart and Stephen Colbert that lampoon political doings of the day.

“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” could follow.

NBC declined to comment on what would be in store for the show. But a person with the network, who was not authorized to comment and spoke on condition of anonymity, said “Tonight” and other NBC late-night shows likely would have to resort to repeats with no writing staff to generate new material.

(NBC is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

CBS declined comment on the possible fate of “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

During the last strike in 1988, Letterman, then host of NBC’s “Late Night,” and longtime “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson initially went off the air but later returned as the walkout dragged on for more than five months.

NBC also declined comment on how “Saturday Night Live” might be affected in the weeks ahead but indicated this weekend’s show would air as planned.

On the movie front, studios are said to have as many as 50 projects ready to go into production. Several major studio projects reportedly are camera-ready, with scripts that could be filmed without requiring a guild member on hand for rewrites.

Some sectors would benefit from a walkout. Network news divisions could become beehives in a protracted strike, with networks calling on news magazines such as “Dateline NBC” to fill in programming gaps.

Reality TV producers are finding an even warmer welcome at networks, while independent filmmakers foresee the possibility of new distribution doors opening.
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Kenny
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If the writers really do strike and television dies a quick death as a result, they may not have a job to eventually come back to. Especially soap writers!

As for bombarding everyone with reality shows, even those have writers! We all know that 99.9% of the shit on reality shows is scripted... or at least the CONCEPT of the show is created and written by someone. There's nothing in Hollywood that doesn't involve writers.
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Rick
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Dreamlander

WGA.org

The Latest Word -- Negotiations Updates

(10/31/07)
Contract 2007 Negotiations Statement

The WGA Negotiating Committee, on behalf of the Writers of Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), has issued the following statement regarding Contract 2007 negotiations:

“Today, just hours before the expiration of our contract, the AMPTP brought negotiations to a halt.

The Companies refused to continue to bargain unless we agree that the hated DVD formula be extended to Internet downloads.

This morning we presented the AMPTP with a comprehensive package of proposals that included movement on DVDs, new media, and jurisdictional issues. We also took nine proposals off the table. The Companies returned six hours later and said they would not respond to our package until we capitulated to their Internet demand.

After three and a half months of bargaining, the AMPTP still has not responded to a single one of our important proposals. Every issue that matters to writers, including Internet reuse, original writing for new media, DVDs, and jurisdiction, has been ignored. This is completely unacceptable.”

There will be a WGA West membership meeting in Los Angeles Thursday night.”


We’ve been working hard to come up with a package in response to your last proposal. But we keep running up against the DVD issue. The companies believe that movement is possible on other issues, but they cannot make any movement when confronted with your continuing efforts to increase the DVD formula, including the formula for electronic sell-through. The magnitude of that proposal alone is blocking us from making any further progress. We cannot move further as long as that issue remains on the table. In short, the DVD issue is a complete roadblock to any further progress."
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bellcurve
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More media outlets(like Access Hollywood, et. al., are speculating that soaps, instead of going into reruns or hiring scabs, will be suspended for news and sports.

I guess we can expect college ballgames to be picked up by CBS and aired in the afternoon, which, may be fun for sports aficionados, but, in the long run, will kill the daytime television industry.

I can't imagine a television landscape without soap operas.

What would SOAPnet air in the place of the no new episodes?

Maybe the time off will give writers the drive and determination to go back in swinging.

I hope this extra day at work gives writers the opportunity to write explosive cliffhangers that people will want to come.
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kserox10


Tgis does not look good.
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Mason
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Kenny
Nov 1 2007, 01:26 AM
If the writers really do strike and television dies a quick death as a result, they may not have a job to eventually come back to. Especially soap writers!

Exactly. TV and Film writers make damn good money as it is, so they should just stop being so greedy before they're out of work totally.

And I agree...daytime simply cannot survive extended preemptions. :(
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King
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Holla.
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jcar03
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Well, they deserve royatlties from the items they write which seems to be the big sticking point here. I would want my cut of it instead of the big head of the studio who makes millions upon millions ending up with all of it.
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Steve Frame
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I can see some of their points and feel everyone is entitled to what belongs to them, but I sure hope the strike doesn't last long. Too bad the directors and actors can't go ahead and do theirs too. If the soaps end up preempted for all 3 strikes, it definitely has no chance. And it is widely rumored that the others will strike over some of the same issues.
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px780
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Streetcorner Philosopher

jcar03
Nov 1 2007, 09:04 PM
Well, they deserve royatlties from the items they write which seems to be the big sticking point here.  I would want my cut of it instead of the big head of the studio who makes millions upon millions ending up with all of it.

But...they do get a cut. And my brain keeps getting hung up on all the movies derived from comic books, all the sequels, all the television shows ripped-from-the-headlines and barely adjusted to become fiction.

I mean, I'm seeing American popular culture in serious decline, in part because of a lack of creativity by people behind-the-scenes including writers, so I can't be sympathetic to them when they aren't totally happy with the formula determining how much they get from DVD sales or internet downloads.

And really, how much is it worth to come up with the crappy dialogue in, say, Spiderman? The concept isn't yours, the characters aren't yours, the basic plots aren't really yours...how much do you deserve?

I just don't support them in this, I guess.

You know who I would support, thinking about it? Musicians. Especially with all the show-closing musical montages on television lately, their work really enhances and fills out tv shows and movies. And I'd be willing to wager that they get less of a cut than writers, though their contribution is equally important, if not more so.
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