Saturday, December 29, 2007

Update on Writers' Strike

Yesterday, Entertainment Weekly reported that the American Film Institute listed the writers' strike as their top moment of significance for 2007. "The AFI called the strike 'part of a larger paradigm shift,' adding that 'the ongoing digital revolution has upended conventional economic models'..."

The ongoing strike, involving more than 12,000 writers, began on November 5th and targeted the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

Talks broke off on December 7th, according to the Orlando Sentinel, when "the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, insisted it would not bargain further unless the Writers Guild of America dropped proposals that included the authority to unionize writers on reality shows and animation projects."

The writers' union responded by telling its members two weeks ago today it was going to try dealing directly with studios and production companies, thereby going around the AMPTP.

The writers' union has followed through on its threat to pursue "separate talks with smaller, independent production companies."

Yesterday, Yahoo News reported that "Late-night TV comedian David Letterman has reached a deal with the union representing striking screenwriters that will let his show return to the air next week with his writing staff..."

This deal comes at a time when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is considering cancelling the Golden Globes, one of the top Hollywood award shows. The Golden Globes is scheduled to be broadcast live on January 13. Writers have threatened to picket the show, and celebrities are concerned about crossing that picket line.

The Writers Guild of America has also threatened to picket the Oscars on February 24 if the strike has not been settled by then.

The ironic thing is that Hollywood had a terrific year in 2007 according to AP writer David Germain. "Unlike many years when one or two studios might dominate while others are stuck with flops and underachievers, every major distributor had its share of hits."

Stay tuned for more . . .

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