Letterman Writers on the Picket Line

Late Show writers talk on the picket lines about their determination to stay out until a fair deal is reached.

To all the late-night hosts who have stood with us in solidarity through this, and have paid out of their own pocket to keep their non-writing staff and crew from suffering, we can't say enough to thank them.

Letterman's support of his writing staff and crew is a stark contrast to the indifference of the AMPTP. The conglomerates don't seem to care that Christmas is coming, and that by walking away from the table they have kept tens of thousands of people out of work purely for their own greed.

AMPTP: come back to the table and negotiate a fair deal.

And if they won't, here's hoping Dave will...


Shawn said...

Uh...I think we all know by now that Dave will go back to work with the writers ---

The question I think a lot of people are asking is - how is this a good thing? There seems to be a lot of pros and a lot of cons. Do the pros outweigh the cons? Please someone explain...

JimBob said...

Letterman puts his show on and his people get to work. That's good. But CBS gets to sell advertising for new shows. That's bad.

Shawn said...

Thanks for nothing jimbob.

embers said...

I really believe that David Letterman's production company coming to an interim agreement with the WGA will put pressure on others to do so, and will help force the AMPTP back to the negotiation table. I actually hope it could break the AMPTP and lead to all the studios/networks making independent contracts with the WGA. I would like to see Nick Counter fired and the stupid gamesmanship he has been employing permanently discredited.

I just can't say enough about how much I admire David Letterman for the way he has conducted himself during this strike. I always thought he was funny, but now I feel that he is really a great man.

Jerad said...

It has quite a few effects Shawn, these are the main possibilities as I see them.*

*I have zero qualifications behind these views.

First it will raise public awareness of the strike; I'm sure Dave won't brush it under the rug as the news organizations have been known to. Secondly it may create some pressure on the other networks to end this sooner because they'll be losing their ability to compete against CBS.

However there's also the risk that it could create dissent in the WGA ranks as some will feel put out that some are allowed to work while others aren't. And as CBS is one of the companies that aren't as diversified they probably were feeling the pinch more than other companies, so it may make them less amiable to stretching for a resolution.

To me it seems that the bad is only a little bad and the good can be a lot of good. That's why I think it's a good thing.

BTL Guy said...

Why hasn't there been a UH front page posting about the WGA email which went out yesterday??

Letterman, and possibly others, are going to get waivers and go back on the air. Nikki Finke had this yesterday morning. UH has had 12 front page posts since this broke, but nothing so far has mentioned it.

Does UH think this is a bad idea? If so, why not post and comment? Ditto if UH thinks it's a good idea. Ditto again if UH members are split on it. But, c'mon... Ya gotta post something...

I'm really surprised that a major news item about the strike (it got picked up by CNN!) can't make the front page of a site dedicated to strike news.

artdeptgirl said...

hey btl guy,

maybe UH is waiting to post something that's actually confirmed, versus other sites that are okay to post rumors/ongoing talks/scuttlebut.

Shawn said...

Have to agree with BTL GUY.

I would have to think that there are MANY questions among members, hence the guild's meeting tomorrow in Santa Monica.

Quite frankly, I think that David Letterman going back to work with writers (provided a deal is hashed out) doesn't help the strike's cause at all.
First - Dave can only comment on the strike SO much. Jay and Conan, while they will return without writers, are charismatic and funny enough to carry the show on their own.

For writers to go back to work with Dave completely contradicts the We're ALL in this TOGETHER mantra the WGA leadership has been preaching.

And whether it's with writers or not, the fact that the late night hosts are returning to work means the networks benefit and late-night is all okay again.

I think that the guild's attempt to offer to make deals individually is a futile attempt, and Dave Letterman's company will not start a chain reaction. As a BTL worker completely on the side of the WGA, I am just not sure what's going on, and how this, and the filing of the complaint to the NLRB, are helping to bring an end to this strike.

Please help me understand the big piture because the small picture is awfully confusing.

Truthinista said...

I've heard Jon Stewart is looking to negotiate a similar waiver by the WGA to also return to the air.

But, I really don't see how this is supportive. It's just short of crossing the picket line, and, as much of a supporter as I am of Jon and Stephen (Colbert), I'm not sure I'm entirely on board with this plan. Unless all the late-night hosts use their air time to bring attention to the strike to end it, I really don't see how this can help at all.

I hope there's a real strategy at work here that I'm unable to figure out, because so far, I'm at a loss for words...and I'm sorely disappointed.

Yes I AM Making Fun of You said...

It's gotta be tough on those Letterman Late Show writers. I mean, out on the picket line and having your boss still pay your salary has got to be rough, right? And now, just as the weather will be awful--wet, cold, miserable--they get to go back to their warm, comfy offices where they get to still get to collect a paycheck. No wonder their morale is high. Mine would be too if I was still getting paid and knew that I'd be soon back in the warmth of my office.

Local44United said...

"The conglomerates don't seem to care that Christmas is coming, and that by walking away from the table they have kept tens of thousands of people out of work purely for their own greed."

Funny....The WGA didn't seem to care that they went on strike right around the holidays and put thousands of people out of work......Why should the conglomerates?

Evan Waters said...

Because the conglomerates are in a position to end this, and are the ones who walked away from the table?

Captain Obvious said...

Yes I Am Making Fun Of You: Only the non-writing staff are being paid, which nullifies your post.

not a troll said...

Letterman writers were getting paid residuals for the reruns. FYI

BTL Guy said...


Your statement is true, but not totally accurate. Yes, the studios have the power to end the strike.

This should not imply however, that the WGA is powerless to end it.

Saying that either side is going to end it soon is unrealistic, but please note that WGA has in its power the ability to order everyone back to work tomorrow.

So, umm, the WGA also has the ability to end it.

(and the other half of your statement is 100% correct: WGA are still willing to talk, while the AMPTP jackholes aren't)

Evan Waters said...

but please note that WGA has in its power the ability to order everyone back to work tomorrow.

That would pretty much castrate them for the future, though. They'd be an utterly worthless union if they didn't obtain anything.

Harold said...

There is no way to look at this other than what it is.

On January 7, all of network late night is returning to air - waivers or not. Letterman is going to be given waivers for his shows.

Worldwide Pants is not agreeing to any of the WGA's positions anymore than any other AMPTP outfit. An "interim agreement" is just a waiver. This isn't "individual negotiation" anymore than giving SAG a waiver was individual negotiation. There is not a separate permanent agreement for Worldwide Pants. It's just a strike waiver.

I expect more waivers for shows not owned by networks. I'm convinced that the "individual negotiations" is a reaction to showrunners beginning to say to negotiators "You had your chance, you screwed it up, let's end this thing and go back to work. BTW, I want a waiver."

The beginning of the end was when DVDs were pulled off the table. AMPTP can play the ultimatum game - as it is doing right now - whenever it wants because WGA caved ONE FRICKIN' TIME.

You don't blink at negotiations. The WGA should have hired some people to negotiate that had a plan and knew WTF they were doing. All this improvisation shit is ridiculous.

A lot of people had enough when WGA tried to toss reality and everything else on the table. It's like the negotiators didn't even have a plan. It's like they didn't prioritize any of the issues. It's like...

It's like WGA is screwed and has to depend on DGA now. That's REALLY screwed.

Evan Waters said...

THAT's the can-do attitude that'll get this strike settled successfully!

not a troll said...

Hey, Evan, if the shoe fits...

BTL Guy said...


I agree with you that WGA sending everyone back to work tomorrow would be ridiculously weak.

BUT I just have to point it out when someone spouts the "the congloms have the power to end this" routine.

Cos that line's nothing but spin. Both sides individually have the power to end this, but neither side wants to right now because neither side is happy with the deal on the table.

Wouldn't it also "castrate" the AMPTP to give the WGA everything it wants? Of course it would.

We all know that whatever deal eventually gets made will be a compromise for both sides, and I'm not arguing that a good deal is on the table yet.

But saying it's all the other guy's fault is misleading spin on par with AMPTP's crap.

Frank said...

This is really gonna be fun. All the late nighters without their writers. Lets see if they are really funny or is it their writers.
Is Letterman afraid to compete without someone putting words in his mouth. I can't wait.