12/12/2007

Paul Haggis: The Reality of Reality and Animation

This post was written by the writer-director Paul Haggis. Paul is the first person to write two back-to-back winners of the Oscar for best picture ("Crash" and "Million Dollar Baby"). -JA

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of talking to Patric and some of our negotiating team. Here is what I walked away with. On Friday, before their walkout (or is it lockout?), the AMPTP demanded we take six issues off the table or they wouldn’t ever talk to us again. Two of those issues, our demands to cover animation and reality writers, have stirred up some controversy. The AMPTP is sending out its professional spin-minions, calling agents and lawyers and managers, painting us as labor radicals.

Now there are guys like me for whom the label might fit – not that I am a great and good friend of the downtrodden, but I have been fairly accused of being less than moderate and measured at times. I know radical behavior when I see it, and our team’s proposals and tactics have been so moderate and reasonable that one could easily believe they were hoping to be recruited by the Canadian diplomatic corps.

The problem is that the other side’s spin is working and some writers are actually buying it. Some writers are saying we ought to take these two issues, animation and reality, off the table.

Now, the last time we were told to take something off in order to make progress, we did and absolutely nothing happened. We took off DVDs – which was a very, very painful give – and we got nothing for it. So we should trust these people now?

Paul Haggis
Paul Haggis,
originally uploaded by gwhitta.
But let’s say we did trust them. Let’s say we didn’t mind being bullied. Well, there’s one thing you should know because we know it for sure: Their ultimatum wasn’t about reality and animation. It was an insincere attempt to get us to give away the whole negotiation. They knew our negotiating team couldn’t accept it, and here’s why.

First of all, they insisted that we take all six issues off the table. Not one or two… all six. And the sixth issue on their list wasn’t even a demand. Rather, it was a concept embedded deep within our most important demand (you know the one: coverage for the Internet). They insisted we remove from the table any reference to “distributor’s gross” instead of “producer’s gross.”

We all know this was a vital issue on DVDs. They pulled a bait and switch there, paid us “producer’s gross” instead of “distributor’s gross” and we ended up getting only a quarter of the residuals we had bargained for. But this distinction is even more vital on the Internet, where distributor’s gross is relatively easy to monitor and producer’s gross is (as before) much smaller, and, more significantly, impossible to monitor. If we accept a piece of “producer’s gross”, we’ll be taking whatever they decide to give us… and you know what that means.

So, they knew we wouldn’t and couldn’t accept their ultimatum. They placed a gun to our heads and asked us to pull the trigger on ourselves, or else. The upside on that one is hard to figure.

I believe it is important we cover animation and reality writers. But let’s say you don’t care a whit. Guess what? The Companies don’t much care about them either. They’re attacking us on this issue because they know it is a potentially divisive one. That’s what their much-touted PR men were brought in to find – our “hot buttons.” They want to create wedges. They want us to take all of our issues off the table except the big one. And then we’ll have no room to horse-trade in any direction.

What does this mean? In really simple terms, it means they planned to do exactly what they did: walk out, mount a PR campaign against us, and hope we would (again) bargain against ourselves.

Now let me address these supposed wedge issues directly. First of all, the people who write reality and animation are like us. (In many cases, they are us.) They’re writers. They ought to be in the Guild, they ought to be covered. The absence of coverage for animation writers has cost them a ton of money in residuals. The Lion King, Shrek, Monsters Inc., Ice Age – you name it – no residuals.

And as for reality writers, they are working sweatshop hours – 12, 14, 16 hours a day on a flat salary with no overtime. What these companies are doing to them is illegal. They know it’s illegal. And, thanks to the Guild, the State of California now knows about it too. We’re not just talking about fines here; we’re talking possible felonies. The state is investigating, and these abuses could cost the companies millions and millions of dollars in penalties. They may well decide that it’s cheaper to let the writers join the WGA than to pay huge penalties and risk going to prison.

Think for a moment about what it would mean if reality writers were in the union as they deserved to be. During a strike, there’d be no American Idol, no Fear Factor or Amazing Race or whatever the big thing is today. No shows to stick in to replace dramas and comedies from striking showrunners. No network season period. All that would be left is commercials and reruns, and we know how well reruns are doing, don’t we. In normal times, reality employers would be paying into our Health and Pension funds, and that would benefit us all as well.

If the companies can divide us on these issues, they can divide us on the Internet too. They could craft proposals that appeal mightily to our screenwriters but not to our TV writers or vice versa.

Anyone remember the 88 strike? If you weren’t there, trust me, it wasn’t pretty. Management’s friends, lawyers and managers and agents and folks who surely had only our best interest at heart convinced television writers that they shouldn’t fight for revenue for this new fangled video tape thing because it was going to amount to pennies, and anyway, their TV shows were never going to end up on video tape. And so the guild cracked in two, we gave up a fair video and DVD formula we had hard won, and in so doing gave away millions and millions of dollars – screen and TV writers included.

I managed to fail my way to the top in television. I did this by following two rules. 1. Negotiate from strength. 2. Trust my negotiator.

In my 25 odd years in the guild I have honestly never seen it more united. That is our great strength and we all know it. Now if we want to get a fair deal we need to use it. We need to be smart enough to act dumb: shut up and keep walking. We need to stop inspecting every move and wondering why our negotiators aren't doing this our are doing that. They are doing a great job. We put our trust in them, we need to support them. If they tell us the best thing we can do is walk in circles, that is what I will be doing, every day. Until we win. And we will.

See you on the sidewalk.

65 comments:

ww said...

Okay, the AMPTP wants to divide the guild members with the issue of Reality/Animation jurisdiction. It makes sense. So rather than fight amongst ourselves, why don't we turn this issue against the AMPTP? You know, lemonade out of lemons...

How do we do that? How's this for starters? Let's invite all the Reality/Animation writers to join the good fight and start picketing! Wouldn't that end the strike in about 10 minutes?

Steve said...

Paul Haggis noted:

"The last time we were told to take something off in order to make progress, we did and absolutely nothing happened. We took off DVDs – which was a very, very painful give – and we got nothing for it."

and

Then the AMPTP "insisted that we take all six issues off the table. Not one or two... all six. And the sixth issue on their list wasn’t even a demand."

and

"Anyone remember the '88 strike? ... we gave up a fair video and DVD formula we had hard won, and in so doing gave away millions and millions of dollars – screen and TV writers included."

DVD residuals never should have been taken off the 2007 table. I don't care if that card has been "flipped over," as the now-cliche goes, it never should have been made a trading card in the first place.

We still need to be compensated fairly for the sale of our work on DVDs, which will still sell billions for the next few years at least.

DVD residuals need to be put back on the table.

Jayce yea thats my name said...

IM just wondering, Why cant the WGA just change their qualifications and let the reality writers and the animation writers,andyone who puts pen to paper....... and if that doesnt work why dont they start a union and then have that union be in partnership with the WGA.

Geo Rule said...

Well, I already commented on what I think the strategy should be re Animation and Reality on the "War of Words" entry. But the exec summary is insist on a fair and free election of positions and shows you designate in advance on a recent date certain in the past so no games can be played. Say shows and positions that existed on the first day of the 2007/2008 season.

Re DVD, you know what guys? Take it back. I'm not kidding. Unflip the card. Announce that since AMPTP has shown bad faith and refuses to negotiate you are "returning to zero point" on the negotations and will only start over from there.

hotline said...

Haggis is right!!!!

It's only been a few weeks. Did you guys really think the AMPTP wasn't going to play hardball? That this was going to be a cake walk? That other workers wouldn't hate us? That you and everybody else in this town - not just this business - wouldn't suffer financially? Remember the strike in '88 lasted how long? Did you really think that this strike was going to last a month or two when there's even more at stake?

Anybody who voted for this strike - and that's 90 percent of this union - should have taken a long hard look at the demands before you did and should have believed in every one of them. And you should have prepared to stick it out for the long haul. This was never going to be easy. So don't you dare start pussying out now. If you don't fight for it all - you fight for nothing.

This is going to be a long strike. Get used to it and get behind it. Suffer now for a few months or suffer forever if we divide and lose this thing.

And I'm all for putting DVD's back on the table.

makomk said...

Okay, so first you say that the producers don't really care about the reality TV proposal. Then you point out that, with it, you point out that if all reality TV writers were WGA members, you could do far, far more damage in the next strike. If the producers have any sense, this'd be a very good reason for them to care.

Also, since I'm not in the industry, I'm not sure what "distributer's gross" is. Say one of the channels arranges with YouTube to put some episodes (or parts of episodes) - will the royalties be based on the amount of money they get, or the amount of money Google gets? This would seem to be a fairly fundamental question...

B.G. said...

Groupthink, a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis (1972), occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment”

Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups. A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making.

Symptoms of Groupthink

Janis has documented eight symptoms of groupthink:

Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.

Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.

Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.

Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.

Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.

Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.

Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.

Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.

If you didn't make it to the end of this, you might be suffering from groupthink.

Lisa said...

I second steve's notion about taking DVD residuals off the table. DON'T BACK DOWN, WRITERS!

Geo Rule said...

Most importantly, AMPTP has to find out that there is a cost to them of bad faith. Otherwise they just whipsaw you back and forth with "we won't talk unless" and at the end of the day there's nothing left to talk about other than what order the negotiators sign the final document.

That's a rube's game, don't play it. Heck, to point at an immortal piece of writing, what's needed here is a bit of "That's the Chicago way!" from The Untouchables.

Take the DVD concession back.

Skyfleur said...

Helen, I'm not sure the tone of the comments have shifted. The thing is since anonymous comments have been disabled, we have less of the negative opinions being expressed. Some anon were positive, anyways. The ones that always were registered and voiced a negative opinion still do. So it's more on par. Two weeks ago, every message was drowned by the stupidest comments I had seen in a long time.

And i'm not so sure those behind the negative comments are sent by the PR firm or by the AMPTP. Honestly, if that's all they can write, they need more imagination ;) cause I do not think that their repetitive message which hasn't progressed in any way since the beginning is doing them any good. On the contrary.

Anyhoo, after reading Haggis post, I may have change my mind about Reality TV. I still think there need to be a compromise done. It's the only way.
It's not because the AMPTP refuses to come back to the table that the WGA cannot rewrite new proposals and published them. The best tactic is offense and offense in this case mean showing the public, the BTL and everyone that the WGA is trying its hardest to end the strike.
And let's pray the DGA won't agree to start negotiating.

Brande said...

I agree with previous posters. Put DVDs back on the table. God knows that's how I watch MOST of my tv.

Let's see... *counts up my TV show sets*.... best guesstimate.... 45-50 box sets at an average of $59 a set.... and I would STILL BE BUYING if it weren't for the strike.

I'm one person and I've bought that many sets. How many millions of other purchases are out there? That's a lot of money, no matter how they try to hide it.

As for the research into the business practices, yay! Although I'm sure they'll try to wrangle their way out of that by claiming the writers were sub-contractors and therefore self-employed, which means the labor laws don't apply the same way.

BTL Guy said...

Spin. Spin. Spin! Whippeee!!!!

An issue that has never been at the forefront of negotiations - reality and animation - has been thrust there by the AMPTP and Writers have taken the bait.

All of a sudden, 3 of the 5 most recent front page posts are about reality and animation. They're some of the longest front page posts ever put up on this site.

Why are you letting AMPTP dictate the discussion? When you jump all over the latest story, it gives the impression that you don't really know what you want.

Cases in point:

In the days leading up to the strike, the primo, number 1 storypoint that all Guild mouthpieces had to say was DVD, followed by DVD, and then DVD.

Then, right before going on strike, DVD was taken off the table. Shock and awe. Because we learned that this strike is really about...

Primo number 1 storypoint internet, internet, and, oh yeah, internet. And it was for a long time.

Now, suddenly, the only thing anyone wants to talk about is reality, followed by animation, followed by reality again.

To be honest, it's not a terrible thing to shine a light on the plight of the under-organized animation writers or the un-represented reality writers.

But I think a far more effective approach would have been to just stay on point about the negotiation as a whole.

You actually have the moral high ground here.

The response out of WGA should be "we remain at the negotiating site, ready to bargain with the AMPTP, but we will not be dictated to and we will not categorically remove 6 important and distinct issues from the table merely as a condition to speak. We look forward to AMPTP returning to the table with us, where we will be happy to discuss further our position on each of these 6 items."

Don't let them reel you into a public debate on an issue that is a bit of a wedge.

Don't let them force you to dig in your heals on an issue that may or may not have been a bargaining chip.

Don't take the bait!

Helen said...

Skyfleur:

The anonymous comments were disabled, but you still can register under any name. "Skyfleur" doesn't tell me any more about who you are than "Anonymous." "Brian" could be anyone. So could "Helen."

A member of the negotiating committee told me yesterday that things were going to get ugly. The Guild knows that one of the AMPTP's next moves is to step up personal attacks on writers. I shouldn't have been surprised to wake up to this venality but it still shocked me.

Sure, this attack might come from an isolated writer with a vendetta. Or it might be an attempt to discredit any individual who steps forward and expresses their support for the writers' cause.

Skyfleur said...

I just read this and I'm going to add this here.

Okay, the Moguls refuse to talk about a proper share for streaming / Sell through thingy.

Here's an article that got published on Digital Spy

An Online drama slated for 2008. Which means no residuals for the writers. So, it's not tomorrow, it's today, now. It's shifting fatser than all of us. First 1/4 launched on myspace after being rejected by NBC and now this.

azuckerborneveryminute said...

No
Bargaining
Chips

No one
Buying
Commercials

Must See TV (or will cancel our ad-buys)
-----
Check Reuters for the story NBC quietly begins returning millions in advertisers' money. Other networks are close on their heels. There are weak bricks in the wall and the WGA would be smart to keep kicking them until they come out.

Because of the nature of production, withholding writing takes time to hurt the companies. But once it starts, the WGA's leverage is severe. And they'd be crazy not to use it to maximum effect to protect their rights just like any other union would.

John Aboud said...

As I often do, I agree with BTL Guy. We can not let the other side dictate our story for us. This issue of jurisdiction just hit real nerve with Laeta K and Paul Haggis, and I'm not going to stand in the way of those two. I think it's good to air our differences because otherwise, yeah, we get all groupthink. What's sad is we don't get to hear the other side air THEIR differences, which are substantial! When that stuff starts leaking out, it will be very interesting.

MrKlaatu said...

Paul, hope you'll be at:

W.G.Eh.: Canadian writers and the people who love them will be out and about picketing on Thursday, December 13th from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm at CBS Radford (main gate). Bring anything Canadian -- flags, hockey stick signs, plucky optimism -- and wear your Canadian colours in honour of this event.

JeFF-Rey said...

For the most part I agree with Haggis, except when it comes to the jurisdictional item on the table. Is it just me or did the animation/reality part of the negotiations kind of come out of the blue? Was this part of the WGA's original plan, because I'd heard little to nothing about it until this most recent break-down. I firmly believe that it's important to fight for what's important; I just see this issue as secondary to what we really want.

There was an interesting article put out today by Richard Verrier and the LA Times about the negotations. Add me to list of people worried about the upcoming DGA negotations and how that will affect the current stand-still.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-strike12dec12,1,4056290.story

Steve said...

Jeff-rey, if the DGA wants to accept a lesser contract, let them. We should not settle for any contract terms negotatiated by anybody else, nor ratify any contract that fails to give us everything we need.

Shanna said...

jeff-rey

As far as I understand it reality/animation were always in the proposal. The sticking points for negotiations were originally DVDs and New Media.

From what I can see the AMPTP is using an issue which was always on the table to make it seem like the writers have been "lying" about what they truly want. It's mostly a PR move i.e. "Now look at what the writers are slipping in. They are a bunch of crazy radicals!!"

I still contend that the negotiating commitee has been too conservative. Every time they "demand" something (which is in its essence the antithesis of negotiate), put something back on the table.

LKB said...

Jeff-rey -- Reality and animation have been on the table since the beginning. If you've been attending the meetings and listening to the leadership, you know that.

I agree with the brilliant Paul Haggis, But I have a major fear, I heard a *rumor* that the AMPTP has lowered their ultimatum from 6 to two items that they want us to remove to return to the table. And I heard that this was being considered. Leadership if you read this, NO. We can't give up issues just in trade for the AMPTP's attendance at the table. If they offer us something contractual in return for one of our issues, that's negotiating. But to allow them to extort bargaining points from us just so they'll grace us with their presence would be lunacy. DON'T DO IT.

Skyfleur said...

Steve, I would agree with you that if a union wants a bad deal then let them ; however the main problem is then they have a precedent to shove it down SAG and the WGA's throats. if the DGA gets a lesser deal, it will infuriate everyone because everyone depends on one deal to make it good for the others. The word the WGA was sending was if we win, every other group will win. if one loses, every other union will probably lose.
Having the DGA getting a bad deal is not an option, it's a nightmare and one as a supporter of the WGA strike does not wish to come true.

LKB said...

skyfleur -- Not true. We will not settle for DGA's deal. We don't share the same issues. They can negotiate whatever they want but it will not change our strike. But they should know that if they make a bad deal, they'll have to wait that much longer to put it into use and work again.

BTL Guy said...

Of course you should not ratify any contract that does not give you everything you need, even if it is more than what DGA ultimately signs.

However, the Guild gets sidetracked and stumbles when it publicly insists that everything it asks for is a need.

Verrone telling the supporters at the Fremantle rally that jurisdiction for reality writers would be in the next contract was a major factor in the AMPTP walking from the table.

Were they planning to walk anyway? Probably, but who knows? The fact remains that Verrone overplayed that hand, and his actions had direct consequences. If nothing else, it gave AMPTP something to point to as an excuse (as they did in all the papers the next day).

Why give them excuses?

Stick to your guns, but don't pretend that they're all canons.

Shawn said...

if it's true that a lot of reality writers want to join the WGA, then they should seriously consider walking out. If the senior writers on Idol and Big Brother were to walk out, the editors would have to scramble, and while it may not completely shut down the shows, it would cause a pretty big disturbance to the shows. WGA leaders should be back-channeling with some of these individuals to cause havoc in the reality world. Am I only dreaming or can this actually happen? Let me know if I should hold hope for this.

Steve said...

If we don't get jurisdiction over reality and animation in this contract it'll be another three years before we can try again, and unless there's another work stoppage, we won't have this kind of leverage again.

So there's a very real possibility that for animation and reality-show writers, this contract is now-or-never.

Anyone who works in television writing should be allowed to join the Writers Guild. This is the right fight and the right time to fight it.

Carrie said...

As others have stated Reality and Animations have always been on the table. AMPTP claim that reality was taken off the table. To the best of my knowledge the only indication of this was a speculative article from Variety theorizing that reality would be one of the first concessions. 20 minutes later Patrick Verrone sent out an email refuting the article and asking Variety to print an article stating the previous piece was their opinion based on their own analysis. Variety never did.

However, the AMPTP has used that article to paint the WGA as unreasonable taking demands on and off the table. This shell game has left many reality writers unsure of where they stand in this whole situation.

Thank you Paul Haggis and Laeta for posting these articles. Hopefully these will help more reality writes come out of the woodwork and demand recognition that WGA is their union is representative.

Indelible Bonobo said...

I fully support your struggle. Don't give in, don't make any concession. Imagine Murdoch & the Viacom skeleton grinning and hi5-ing each other everytime you get close to giving in :)

Steve said...

As a non-prime time/non-guild covered cartoon writer, I hope the WGA gets Feature Animation. There's no reason for it not to.

TV Animation - at least for those of us stuck within IATSE - is a dead/done deal this round (in my opinion), because the WGA can't fight for what they deserve AND wrestle IATSE/Union 839 writers into their guild at the same time.

It would be a waste of energy and a division of focus to do that. Writers have momentum and unity on their side - I hope the WGA doesn't let the AMPTP divide them over something that's basically an issue of labor law.

The studios picked our union for us - in 1940, and (in the case of Nickelodeon) in 2001 - regardless of what they might say.

But getting out of a union, or changing unions, is a much bigger fight than fighting with your union for things your union can fight for.

That being said, aiming for the things that haven't been decided yet? Reality? Feature Animation? New Media? Go for it. That's a battle that can be won.

And that's a battle for the future of all writers - day time animation, prime time animation and feature animation alike.

You guys can check out the TAG board:

http://www.animationguild.org/

Or the blog written by the TAG's rep, Steve Hewett:

http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com

...to see the union that non-prime time animation writers are working with.

It's a branch of Tommy Short's IATSE, and none of us are happy with the contentious relationship he's got with the WGA...

Alexander Chow-Stuart said...

Really great, clearly argued piece, Paul. One of the six issues the AMPTP insisted we remove that greatly concerned me was that we would have to cross SAG picket lines - after SAG has been so incredibly supportive of us now. EVERYTHING should be up for discussion at the bargaining table - that's the whole point of negotiation, as opposed to dictation. When you think about how hard the studios bargain on individual deals, anyone who expects an easy victory now is mistaken. We need to be resolute but consistently willing to talk - so long as the AMPTP is seriously willing to talk.

Steve said...

It should be noted that "Steve 11:29 a.m." is an entirely new Steve (to this thread, anyway).

--Steve 2:50, 10:14 and 10:52 a.m.

scribeguy said...

Paul, you seem to be confusing the strike of '88 with the debacle of '85, which really did split the union in two. In '88 the Guild membership held tough while the vikings laid siege to our walls (and residuals)until they finally got the message, got back into their boats and went to pillage some other union...er...town. The '88 strike was the beginning of a new unity within the Guild, which has only gotten stronger with the years.

Mike said...

Paul Haggis is absolutely right about the strike of '88 being a mess. The first three months, the studios didn't even pay attention to us, then Brian Walton sold us out. The animosity between screenwriters and TV writers was huge and self-destructive because we had separate agendas and didn't care about each other.

Patric Verrone, David Young, John Bowman and the rest of the Guild board and negoiating committee have undone a lot of that damage in a relatively short amount of time and have made the WGA a force to be reckoned with again. That's why the reality and animation writers should stand up, walk away from their desks, and join the fight for the things they tell us they want. I

t's a great union to be a part of, but if they keep delivering product to the studios that can be used as leverage against us, they are undermining every writer - especially themselves. If you are a showrunner of one of these reality or animated shows and you're not taking care of your writing staff and making sure they are paid fairly and have health insurance and pension contributions, then you are nothing more than a gutless tool of management.

I miss my paycheck, too, and I have four kids in college (who I'm deparately trying to talk into transferring to the DeVry Institute) but this is a worthwhile fight and the reality and animation writers should join it if they want to benefit from it.

Mike Scully
PS Enough about reality and animation already. Can we get back to DVD's and New Media, the areas where we're being financially screwed?

Toni said...

Haggis is right, of course. Reality is written. (And so are game shows and animation.) And the Guild has been fighting behind the scenes for reality writers for several years, providing them with legal help for overtime claims -- and winning!

But the majority of reality writers feel burned by past mistakes and left out of the fight. Here's what we can do -- reach out to these "story producers" as a Guild and ask them to join the struggle, perhaps by taking a day off and showing up at a picket or rally or perhaps by signing a petition or maybe by having a meet and greet where both sides can have their questions and concerns aired.

Because if the reality folks started making noise, you better believe we'd be seeing some movement on the network side -- we need to take the bread AND the butter away!

The Network Organizing Committee is working on outreach solutions. We welcome the dialogue and ideas.

schmowriter said...

Amen Mike Scully.

If these writers want to be in the Guild so badly, then why aren't they out there marching and fighting with us? Because they might get fired? Well guess what-- I've been out of work since Nov. 4th. If you want something you have to be willing to sacrifice. So either put up or shut up.

rankandfiler said...

"The other side's spin is working and some writers are actually buying it."

Like whom? Quite frankly, I resent being lectured about supposedly "buying into" things by a man who believes Earth was populated by aliens brought here in space planes.

"We need to stop inspecting every move and wondering why our negotiators aren't doing this or are doing that."

Fine. Then what's with this post? You're not on the negotiating committee. Why should we care what you think?

"Shut up and keep walking."

I will if you will.

"I managed to fail my way to the top in television."

Um, okay.

Not-A-Troll said...

not-a-troll said...
Ok that's it! You have Paul Haggis writing a blog now for you about how solidarity is sooo important and why you should all keep fighting for the little guy.
PLEASE!!!


I HAVE NEVER WANTED TO PUKE MORE THAN I DO AFTER READING THIS CRAP!

Here is one of your "own" talking about fighting the big companies and working together to get through it, meanwhile on the day before the strike he walked onto the Sony lot and handed them the next Bond script, collecting probably a million dollar bonus for doing so.

Do ANY of you see what's wrong with this picture or are you so delusional now that you buy into everything a big "name" tells you to do?

I may have different views than most the people on the board but I have at least have felt they have some intellectual substance. If you can honestly sit here though and buy into this hypocrite's agenda though I fear you have all lost, your minds that is and while you're at it probably this entire strike.

Michael said...

Re: the producers' vs. distributors' gross issue, I'm a little unclear why auditing rights, if robustly defined, can't provide enough of a protection against funny business with a producers' gross-driven residual formula. Gicen that only 50-60% of television licensing is self-dealing between affiliated networks and studios, asking the producer to pay a portion of distributor income does seem kind of unwieldly, especially since as of now, the streaming rights often get thrown in for the original licensing fee, even when it's not self-dealing. (cf. Pushing Daisies, WB/ABC, in which case we'd be making Warner pay a hefty percentage of income they never see, if we got what we're asking for.)

Also, if producers' gross is abso;utely untenable for streaming, why are we asking for it on EST? (Or am I behind on this issue, has that changed?)

Geo Rule said...

I was just over at AMPTP's site and noticed some of their own documentation.

"Notes from the negotiating sessions reveal that the AMPTP specifically rejected jurisdictional expansion into reality television on July 18, October 5, October 25, October 26, and again on November 4. "

"These same negotiating session notes reveal that the AMPTP specifically rejected jurisdictional expansion into animation on July 18, October 5, October 25, October 26, and November 4. "

That's directly from AMPTP's own site. What's that you say? "Shocked, shocked we were to discover on December 7th that WGA was claiming jurisdiction for Reality and Animation and fled from the room as soon as we realized their power grab agenda!" (Sorry, I'm not actually a writer, so y'all will have to punch that up some).

Riiiiight.

BenOren said...

"If these writers want to be in the Guild so badly, then why aren't they out there marching and fighting with us? Because they might get fired? Well guess what-- I've been out of work since Nov. 4th. If you want something you have to be willing to sacrifice. So either put up or shut up."

Please. If the WGA doesn't win the reality fight, then the reality writers/producers who did step up will be blackballed. This absolutely happened with the "Top Model" people as I personally know of producers who were told not to hire them for other projects.

hollarback said...

Geo rule, you are dead on. The WGA appears to have gone to a great deal of trouble to be reasonable and has been very up front about everything. It's all out there for the world to see. The AMPTP, new PR firm and their message not withstanding, ...well not so much with the truthfulness.As much as they hit these "new" wedge issues in the upcoming weeks in the media, the truth is the truth. And the fans and public know who is telling the truth.

I am totally picturing a Casablanca homage here...."I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"

hollarback said...

Not a troll, Paul Haggis has been on the picket lines, sometimes pulling several shifts at several locations in a day. He is doing his part and then some. So the man met a deadline, so what? You are going to have to try harder to stir something up and earn those pennies for this lame slander and faux outrage. You think petty jealousy is going to weaken the writers resolve? Really? That's your plan?

The man worked his way up and deserves any success he has. Nice try. Back under the bridge with you.

Zach Crane said...

On the AMPTP home page they have a fun fact that says "Did you know 6 out of the top 10 series were non-scripted" (i.e. REALITY)!

With facts like that they will do everything and anything in their power not to let reality into the guild because next time this happens they would be SCREWED. Plain and Simple.

MrKlaatu said...

It's actually five dramas, four reality shows, and football. They like to count multiple episodes of American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. If they ran CSI twice a week it would bump something else out too.

That being said, they are making a lot of money on reality shows, because they provide health insurance or overtime pay for the people that make them.

ww said...

Hey, Reality writers. There are very few constants in this strike, but here's one of them. If you guys don't organize now, you never will. This is the ideal opportunity for your power to be heard and seen. If you don't take a chance now and join the fight, then you have yourselves to blame for your long hours, no overtime, no health care, etc.

By the way, joining the guild won't get rid of the long hours and no overtime. Just wanted to be upfront. We're writers, not bankers.

Post Guy said...

Mr. Haggis,

This Post person is in awe and respect of your talents as a Writer, Director, and Producer. I worked very hard to be a part of The Black Donnelly's, ultimately I didn't end up working with you. Deep characters, interesting stories, everything that is "right" about good television and the WGA. The right show on the right network, I guess at the wrong time sadly. Yourself and WGA writers have my respect and admiration along with any IA members I know.

I walked last Sunday in the BTL march down Hollywood Blvd. I walked because it's the only thing I can do. In fact, the producer of the series I work on stated "what did you do that for, do you think anyone really gives a f*ck about your march?". This statement was in jest, but it's pretty much true. The middle class is looked down upon, and I agree with what Mr. Young stands for. Many signs at the rally said...... "We love our writers", and that is true. Respect is what you make of it, you have our respect.

As a post person caught in the middle I want to respond a bit, ask some questions, and put some "food for thought" on the table since this site is kind enough to allow it.

1.) 1988.........Yes, I lived through that too. I was already 10 years into the business when the strike of 1988 hit. 22 weeks ending up in a deal that everyone points to as "getting screwed" after all that pain. I've asked this question a number of times, but no one has responded.........."What went on the last two decades since?" It seems this is about making up for 20 years of mistakes. 20 years of negotiations, 20 years of bad contracts, and 20 years of pointing back to 1988 as where it all went wrong. So, who's really to blame? And I'm not going to sit here defending AMPTP and it's recent strong armed actions by any means, but it's hard for me to blame them for 20 years of deals that were voted on and accepted.

Today we are going to make up for all that in one ugly strike that has already has brought the BTL to their knees, and maybe in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, will finally get the moguls attention. Striking for "respect" of the moguls is meaningless anyway. Even if they gave you each and every demand, do you really think you now have AMPTP's respect? Again, respect is what you make of it. We love our writers, always have, you have respect here.


2.) Union Busting/Lockout. If this IA member truly thought this was about union busting, I'm ready to walk off the job today and join you, and I think I can speak for the majority of the IA workers on this. Go back to "old school" tactics that worked in the 40's and 50's, I'm here, I'm ready.

If the WGA went in and asked for a new 3 year contract with the same provisions as the previous 3 year contract and AMPTP said No,..........that is union busting. Rollbacks,....... that is union busting. Lockouts.........that is union busting. In my opinion, going in asking for items striving to make up for 20 years of errors, doesn't qualify as union busting.


3.) Animation. Is this really a priority today? As far as the traditional animation goes, I agree it should one day be WGA, but while it is covered under the IA, the point is moot.

Motion capture: Beowulf, WGA writers. Polar Express, WGA writers. Bob Z, Steve Starkey, hard for me to believe they would use anyone other than WGA. Bob Z and Steve are at the top of their game, why would they go elsewhere? Will this be an issue in 3 years when new players enter that market? Who knows, maybe. Let's revisit it then.


4.) Reality. This strike happening when it is will do nothing but help reality television once again. If I am understanding the sentiment, much of it is focused at Fox. Well guess what show we are helping in the ratings this season unchallenged when we have zero quality scripted shows against it? Fox's American Idol. Just when it's ratings were starting to flatten out, we are going to help it. Should reality writers be WGA. Yes, probably, it's up to them. Anyone who's pen to paper? Ok, I'm all for that, but where does it end? Newspapers, Websites, Books, Magazines......where? And what are we willing to give up to get that, and for how long?

5.) Strike now, or Power in Numbers? Personally I am all for an Alliance of the WGA, DGA, SAG, Teamsters, IA, AFL/CIO, etc. AMPTP apparently can violate federal law, why not us. The "reality" is you will have an alliance next June. In June, the networks, already in re-runs, will have nothing to air in the Fall. Those "up-fronts" everybody is going on about? The up fronts are meaningless without the shows to air. They'll be writing checks back to advertisers. I continue to question the timing of this, especially around the Holidays. Yes, no one was expecting it, but to what real gain?

In conclusion, I am asking those in the WGA to "pick your battles". Pick the battles that you can win without everyone suffering. Come back in just 2 short years (start early) and go for your next goal, and then your next one. I'm asking for long term 10-20 year thinking. I guarantee you the studios are planning for the future far beyond 20 years. If this walkout goes for 1 or 2 years, what will truly be gained that couldn't have been gained by getting some of this now, and more at each successive negotiation?

I hear Mr. Young loud and clear concerning what is happening in America today, (the losses of the middle class) and agree completely.

Here's a recent example. Hershey's (the great "american" chocolate bar) is closing plants in PA., laying off (firing) 900 workers, and moving production operations to Mexico as I understand it. Thanks to our "friends" in Congress for NAFTA! More middle class jobs go away.

Mr. Haggis, you are a "leftie", as am I. Those who are liberal, care as much or more about others, than themselves.

In this "it's all about ME, ME, ME" and "I got mine generation", it is up to those of the Left to do what is best not only for your Guild, but for others. That is our strength, that is the difference.

I want you guys to get all the demands you ask for, I want Mr. Young to realize his dream of truly helping the middle class, but please realize the damage that is being created to the people who's families depend on us, as we truly are..............the middle class.

Troy said...

Reality story producer here, three years into the organizing effort and virtually crap-upon-proof after being told year after year that my host copy, VO, "desired reponse" interview situation, compression of time, full on synopsis writing, internet promo work et al do not qualify me as a writer and further, I am to be loathed.

I work with a great many WGA members who have hopped the fence to reality over the years as traditionally scripted shows have dwindled in number, and watched many lose their benefits as a result. This alone should be reason enough for members to fight for reality's inclusion, regardless of how you feel about the hordes of non-members having at it in the oppressive, crummy sweatshops of reality television who've been clawing at the door for three years.

The AMPTP painting this as a "Top-Down Organizing Proposal" was born out of reality folks coming to the WGA asking for help in the first place.

BTL Guy said...

Post Guy -

Well said, sir.

Mike said...

If six of the top ten series are non-scripted, then reality writers have never been more powerful - and what are they doing with their newfound power? Nothing.

Instead of "clawing at the door" to get out of their "crummy, oppressive sweatshops" why don't they demand WGA representation or walk off the job?

That's what we had to do with primetime animation. We couldn't have been more in breach of our contracts because it wasn't a negotiation year for the WGA. We were unhappy with the way we were being treated and we did something about it. We put our jobs on the line. If only one of the animated shows had made this threat, we probably would have lost, but cliche as it sounds, there's strength in numbers. Their choice was to replace all their animation writers in the middle of production season or give us the WGA coverage we deserved. Fortunately, we won.

I cannot guarantee you victory, but there's always a risk that comes with standing up for your beliefs. If I'm not mistaken, Hollywood has made one or two movies on this theme.

You can walk the line with the writers or go dancing with the stars. It's your choice.

Mike Scully

hollarback said...

Post guy, I hear you. But they have chosen their battles. Even if you don't agree with what they have chosen, it's their choice. I don't think spreading the misery out over several years would make one bit of difference. The battle is here,now.

I am truly sorry that crew BTL have been hurt, as I think everyone is, but every single strike inflicts damage.

This strike could have been avoided. One party at the table doesn't make for a negotiation.

And I blieve that respect is a by product, not the main goal. This is not pay back, it's "paid", period.

Alexa said...

Hollarback wrote:
Post guy, I hear you. But they have chosen their battles. Even if you don't agree with what they have chosen, it's their choice. I don't think spreading the misery out over several years would make one bit of difference. The battle is here,now.

What kind of sense is that???

POST GUY, thank you for your level headed reasoning. It's clear you've been in this wacky business for a long time, and have seen many battles played out. I think the WGA or any other union can use your clear headed and mindful approach to issues.

Watcher said...

Post Guy, I respect what you're saying. Two things, though: First, realistically speaking, we're in the strike, and it's now. We could argue whether June would be better -- and many people did -- but many other people pointed how much more product the studios would have stockpiled by then. Which would only make the strike longer, which means more people would lose their houses, etc. This way, we're smack in the middle of the TV season -- all they've got for most shows are about two episodes left to run, and they're hoarding them like gold. And with the writers out, the actors have less and less to do as the scripts run out. Nearly every show I know is shut down, and a lot of movies they *thought* had production-ready scripts, didn't. Or as one writer said back when all this was being argued, "The writers go out, what do the actors have to act?"

Yes, it would be nice in solidarity if we were all on strike at the same time, but this is about money. That's the only thing that will shorten the ordeal.

Now, not everyone may agree with this strategy, but -- here we are. The strike's already happening, can't take it back. (And I for one am not convinced it *wasn't* the most effective time to act, but at this point, it's hypothetical.)

The more timely point you make is, "Pick your battles." I gather you're saying, "Ditch reality and animation this year." I would ask you, "In return for what?" Again, I could argue that there are good reasons for fighting for both sets of writers *this* year. But, hypothetically, suppose everything you say about that is true.

The strategy of the AMPTP, in those years of "bad deals" you mention, has been to wait, wait, give the other side nothing, and let them negotiate against themselves, removing the things they're asking for, till they're left with very little.

And what is the AMPTP prepared to give now? Suppose Nick Counter drops by here and says, "Why yes, we'd be glad to give writers a reasonable percentage of internet revenue! Here, look at these figures!" -- and the figures really were reasonable -- "And all we ask is that you drop reality and animation." That might be a time to have the debate you suggest: does it make more sense to fight those battles later?

But note what happened. The AMPTP did not offer anything. They simply left the table. They're using those same "negotiate against yourself" tactics that brought us to where we are. If the writers gave up those bargaining chips, and the AMPTP came back (which they won't, because there's an entirely different point they also want given up, and the writers can't afford to) -- where would that leave the negotiators? With nothing left to negotiate, except to say, "We'd really like a decent percent of New Media. We'd drop some of our other demands for it, but, uh, we seem to have dropped them already. Sorry. We'll go home now, having failed and gone through all this suffering, with the rest of the town, for nothing."

I personally think reality and animation writers deserve our support now. But even if I didn't -- surrendering everything just to get the AMPTP to grace us with their presence at the table seems like a bad move.

Troy said...

In response to Mike, ww and the rest... I can only say --- right on.

A walkout is exactly what reality needs right now... starting at a set time on a set date, and soon.

Steve said...

Watcher, you make many good points, but we have to stop thinking of animation and reality TV as bargaining chips altogether. ("If the writers gave up those bargaining chips, and the AMPTP came back ... where would that leave the negotiators?")

Our bargaining chip is our work, not our demands.

rudell said...

I'm getting tired of the vibe that, if one dares to question the strategy of this strike, one is a spineless tool of the AMPTP.

I have a great deal of respect for the way our leadership mobilized the Guild, but let's not rewrite history. Covering reality and animation writers may have been a plank in the platform, but the issue that catalyzed and united us was the internet - establishing rights, rates and protections for new media. That's what got tv and feature writers on the same page and out on the street. I don't remember anyone standing up in the Writers' Guild theater saying this was our last shot to cover reality and animation writers.

Paul Haggis says," They want us to take all of our issues off the table except the big one. And then we’ll have no room to horse-trade in any direction." Fine: if reality and animation are horses to be traded then - wink wink - keep them on the table. But if Paul and Patric really think the membership will go to the wall for reality and animation, then they will have created the wedge issue they are warning about. And they would do better to remove them now - and remove the AMPTP's cover for not engaging in meaningful talks about new media.

Skyfleur said...

Rudell, I hear what you're saying and maybe you're right. But at the same time, if you're right, then the AMPTP's tactics directing all attention to reality and animation while these two issues have always been on the table is working.

The consensus is the AMPTP is trying to divide the union using these two issues.
It's a concern that writers like you don't want to fight for reality writers and animation writers. It's a concern because it also means that the AMPTP is winning and knows its opponent i.e. writers think of themselves and they are fighting to get more money. DO you think this is the message you want out there ? I wouldn't if I were in the union. We know writers are loners, they think of themselves first, don't really work well in teams (except for TV apparently) and to have them so unified is a sight to be seen. And it is also important to have the message out that the union is not only fighting for a fair share but also fighting for people who deserve the protection the WGA membership gives you. As a union, the most important thing is to protect as many people as possible. It might be that reality and animation are bargaining chips, I'm not sure how this could play out since the AMPTP isn't offering anything in exchange, so why would anyone consider them bargaining chips is beyond my understanding. The AMPTP's attitude makes them more roadblocks than bargaining chips. Because the AMPTP behaves like a bully, not wanting to exchange anything if the union drops them, I consider that this should tell you something, they're worth fighting for. Maybe not for you because your main goal is get a fair share but the thing is your entire contract is being renegotiated. I would even think they should revise the language for promotional use to exclude the inclusion of any adverts in promotional items, that would cut the streaming problem.

So if every clause of your contract is being renegotiated, then logically, some clauses can be added or removed, or re-worded. Remember the AMPTP has not been willing to negotiate until the WGA took off the proposal about a better formula for DVD and remember the AMPTP didn't give anything in exchange when the WGA drop it.

So I understand what you're saying and I tend to agree to a certain point but at the same time a union must fight for itself but also for the people who deserve to be in the union. And since the WGA is on strike and since it's the first real crisis since '88, there is no better time to renegotiate everything.

makomk said...

Skyfleur: that online drama is being planned in the US by a European based company, and the report you're linking to is on a UK website. Once internet content really takes off, all bets are off.

Michael: so they'd have to pay a percentage of income they'd never see a penny of? That certainly seems plausible, and it would explain why they're rejecting distributor's gross out of hand.

Geo Rule: I think the AMPTP had the impression that the animation and reality television parts of the WGA proposals were bargaining chips. Certainly, a lot of the bloggers at the time gave that impression.

After certain statements by the WGA made it clear to them that this wasn't the case and they were going to insist on it, the AMPTP walked. (There's probably more to it than that - it may just be a convenient excuse.)

hotline said...

rudell -

You are why I can't read these posts anymore. Because what you just wrote makes me think my union has a tiny posse of selfish idiots or you are a plant from the other side.

If you are indeed a member of the union, and you voted for this strike, you should have read what all the issues were beforehand and carefully thought out your decision.

To now say I only want to fight for the things that affect me, or to be surprised by the issues being fought for, makes me again think - remarkably selfish or stupid or both or... a tool from the other side making us seem divided.

rudell said...

Hotline,

And you have just made my point. I share an opinion and I'm either a "selfish idiot" or a "plant."

I assure you, I am neither of those things. Did I read all the issues before voting to authorize a strike? Of course I did. Did I believe all were weighted equally? That we would go all-or-nothing in negotiations? Of course not. And neither did any other writer I've been striking with -- or David Young, to judge from his recent post, which distinguishes between "bottom line goals and 'fringe' goals."

So I'm not sure what your point is. And I don't much care. But if you're so worried about us being divided, perhaps you shouldn't be so quick to attack someone you don't know or understand.

Carrie said...

I believe David Young putting the word "fringe" in quotes was a good indication that although New Media and DVD were the driving force of this strike, the other 6 demands AMPTP is insisting would be dropped are not negligible issues that should be thrown away just so people can sit down and negotiate. The thing that makes me believe AMPTP walk out was staged and their shock that animation and reality would even be mentioned is a ploy is the fact that if reality and animations are merely bargaining chips to be played to get a better deal on Internet, then there's no reason to walk away in a huff if your goal is to negotiate.

But, the AMPTP goal isn't to negotiate. Their goal is to dominate. Their goal is to get WGA to give up everything and get nothing in return. And not just this negotiation but every future negotiation. Part of their plan of dominating writers is to keep the WGA base strictly confined. Reality and animation become a tool to threaten writers with in the advent of future negotiations. Do you really want to hand those tools away without getting anything in return except a face at the table?

Statements like, "if reality and animation are horses to be traded then - wink wink - keep them on the table. But if Paul and Patric really think the membership will go to the wall for reality and animation, then they will have created the wedge issue they are warning about," are self defeating.

It's not in the WGA membership's best interest to take this stance. AMPTP sees that the membership doesn't care about reality and animation and they know soon enough the leadership will have to trade it away just to get talks going again because the membership will demand it. That's why a united front on reality and animation is so important, to increase your own bargaining power.

Post Guy said...

Watcher,

Thank you for the response. I'd like to make a few points, and then I'll shut up.

1.) "We're in the strike, and it's now"

Yes, this is of course true. As mentioned in the trades, there is nothing to prevent the WGA from going back to work........... temporarily.......... and holding off the strike until more support is with you in SAG. Before long, the studios are going to write this season off, and all that time is wasted between now and June with really no additional pressure for them to settle knowing SAG is next. The studios want to get rid of the "up-fronts" and pilot season anyway, we're helping them.

Logic (to my crazy head anyway) will end the strike quicker in concert with Sag does it not? Power in numbers. To me, this makes for a minimum 6 month longer strike (unless some miracle occurs) with no upside other than your members and my members out of work until powerful assistance arrives.

Yes, that will trigger............



2.) Stockpiling of scripts. Sure, go ahead. Make all the money you can gang, sell those scripts. Who is going to act in those stockpiled scripts exactly? It shuts down features, it shuts down television, it's over. There are no new features going into production (substantial features) at this point anyway.



3.) Yes, of course you keep Reality and Animation, and not as a requirement to return to the table, agreed.

Reality? Well I see reality as similar to the "variety" shows of the 60's and 70's. (god knows American Idol can't be a "singing in key" competition, so it must be a variety show..........lol) And I have no idea on the history here, whether those were WGA writers or not during those years, I'm assuming so. I'm not sure how reality is any different than anything else written for live television. (like the Sag awards that were granted the waiver) They should all be WGA. But the reality writers are going to need to show some balls (figuratively please) and join you. They have a real stake and power at this point, but have been suspiciously quiet.

Animation? Still waiting for anyone's explanation on why it today falls under the IA, and how exactly this is a negotiable point at this particular point? (I didn't even know Animation writers were part of IA, and I've been in the union for 29 years!) Believe me, I am no friend of AMPTP, but I'm not sure how can they give you something they don't have.

The Lion King is a decade plus old. Idol, what is this, Season 5?

My only point is, are either of these "what is important" at this particular point in time?





4.) And finally, yes, I am appealing to both sides in this. A very long letter is headed to AMPTP over the weekend. Leaving the table is absolute, off the chart, BULLSHIT, especially now with the holidays upon us, they should be in negotiations TODAY.

My family thanks you for the nice Christmas AMPTP, have a good time on those vacations guys, break a leg!

I know they don't give a f*ck, but I'll feel better.

Watcher said...

Post Guy -- I don't know if you're still reading, as this post moves further down in the pile, but I wanted to say, re: timing, you make a very logical point about stockpiling. What I should have focused on in my other comment, and didn't, was the timing for television.

Power would be cut in half if television weren't a part of this. And a strike in June, with everyone out together, would leave the studios with nothing but reruns over the summer.

Which is pretty much the way it is now. A strike on hiatus means they won't feel the pain till hiatus is over.

And a strike now means pilot season also gets knocked out of the water, unless they settle -- which means that when the studios go to the upfronts, they have nothing to sell for the fall season.

BenOren said...

So the reality people should show the same "balls" all the writers did who sold scripts in the days leading up to the strike?

Calling the bunch of us "wimps" and kicking sand in our faces isn't going to get us in the fight -- perhaps coming up with a comprehensive plan of what reality writers/producers joining the guild would entail would be a nice thing. Perhaps promising no initiation dues to have us join up... What is the plan other than taking it to the streets?

Post Guy said...

Watcher, one last response and I'll quietly go back to reading.

Honestly, I really don't think these giant companies really care about scripted TV at this point, especially at Fox. They have so many different sources of revenue beside filmed entertainment.

They used to be "studios", now they are "media". Books, Magazines,Theme-parks, Merchandise, Cruise Lines, Cable Networks, Internet, etc. TV is just one small piece of the overall pie, and even then they'll still have plenty of reality, sports, news, magazine shows, talk shows, etc, to air in the meantime.

Will the ratings be as good, will they get as much for their commercial time? No they won't, eventually they will have to come back to the table and end this. It's just a matter of how long it takes to do just that.

The studios can't wait to do away with Pilot season and up-fronts anyway. And as one who has to deal with the chaos, it's probably a good thing to spread it out over the year or Summer months.

As far as selling ad time for the Fall. (assuming all these negotiations are completed even by then) the ad time will sell one way or another, it will just be handled differently. Everyone already knows today what shows are coming back, the only question mark will be the freshman series, if there are any assuming pilot season goes away.

NBC is going to be hurt the worst I guess, and apparently that is showing in recent comments by GE.

Ok Watcher, I am going to go back to reading. Thanks for the chat.

(And, Ben Oren, I apologize for putting my comments the way I did. However, my personal advice.........organizing your reality show NOW is the time like no other. I have no idea what WGA initiation and dues are, but I can guarantee it will be the best money you will ever spend).

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