Shawn Ryan Interview About Strike Issues

Shawn Ryan is the creator and exec producer of "The Shield" and a member of the Negotiating Commitee. He gave an interview to Aaron Barnhart, television critic of the Kansas City Star -- he covers negotiating issues, strategy, the TV pilot season and sweeps and the DGA negotiation, among other things.

For the whole interview, go
here. Below are some excerpts:

About the value of dissent, and how it's not the same as disunity:
I’ve never heard a Writers' Guild member complain about the goals of what we’re after. There’s always a lot of ongoing conversation about the strategy. That’s healthy, and I think we’re strong enough to withstand dissenting opinion. I think previous strikes have faltered because there’s been internal dissension about the goals. You’re going to have opinionated people like Bill Maher complain about the strategy, but you’re not going to hear anyone complaining about the goals that are important to all of us.

About why reality and animation were in the WGA proposal from the beginning:
Look, we put out a host of things that we wanted to address in this contract. The companies did two. What the companies have tried to get us to do is unilaterally take things off the table without offering anything in return. Are these as important as internet residuals? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean we give those to them for free.

You look at a movie like "Ratatouille," which I thought was pretty brilliant — that was not covered under a Writers' Guild contract. Now, you can’t tell me that was inferior to any other movie. I know that some animation contracts are with another union. Our only point is that animation that’s not covered under any other union should be covered by the Writers' Guild. That doesn’t seem very unreasonable to me. If you’re going to use our talent and make huge budget animated movies that are going to rake in revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars, those writers should have the benefit of a Writers' Guild contract and the residuals and health care and pension and other benefits that come from that.

About the AMPTP's deceptive spin about negotiations:
What’s interesting is the AMPTP never puts anyone who’s actually been at these negotiations in front of the press. And the reason is it’s sort of like the White House with Scott McClellan, where they had McClellan lying but he didn’t know he was lying. How do you get the lie out there without getting someone to lie?

That’s how you do it. You put people out to talk who haven’t participated in the negotiations. So they say that “talks broke down over side issues” -- they don’t know that’s not true. They say it because their superiors said it was true. None of the lawyers who were there would ever say that was true.


Anonymous said...

Great post. It makes alot of sense. But, for the AMPTP, I think this is about more than internet residuals. First of all, I do believe the studios are making money off of this writers strike. This a part of an article I lifted from Media Daily News:

Strike's Dirty Little Secret: TV Network Profit
by Diane Mermigas, Thursday, Jan 17, 2008 7:30 AM ET
THE PROTRACTED WRITERS' STRIKE IS proving to be good--even profitable --business for the television networks, which will reap short-term benefits from scuttling their prime time season. Dramatic reductions in program costs before the full impact of anticipated ad revenue declines could result in quarterly double-digit profit gains, especially for CBS. The next several quarterly earnings reports by CBS, News Corp., Walt Disney Co. and GE will reveal the strike's unintended consequence: a network mini-boon.

It makes sense that the studios are making money from the writers strike because, A) Their ratings are not in the toilet so they are still getting advertising revenue and B) Look at all the people on strike (and now some laid off) who they do not have to pay. And they are still able to fill their air-time with shows that people are watching. If I was the AMPTP, I would keep this strike going for as long as I possibly could. As this article points out, its a great way for the studios to make great short-term financial gains. Plus, I think the studios want to stick it to the writers to show them who is boss. The thing about powerful people is, many times, they don't just want to defeat their opponents, they want to break them. And the WGA, being the proud little upstarts that they are, just keep feeding into that with their snide, wise-cracking bravado. Expect the AMPTP to drag out negotiations with the DGA for as long as they possibly can A) for the short-term financial gains they can make off the strike and B) because they don't like the writers.

buzzearl said...


"It makes sense that the studios are making money from the writers strike" . .

I don't think so.

Today, on 1/17/08, Disney's stock (DIS: NYSE) hit a 52 Week Low of the Year at 28.93. That means, it hit the LOWEST PRICE it had been in a year.

Also, On 1/17/08, CBS's stock (CBS: NYSE)also hit a 52 Week Low of the Year at 22.93 That means, it ALSO hit the LOWEST PRICE it had been in a year.

In addition, On 1/17/08, TimeWarner (NWS: TWX) also hit a 52 Week Low of the Year at 15.50. That means, it ALSO hit the LOWEST PRICE it had been in a year.

Also, on 1/17/08, GE’s stocks (NYSE:GE) owner of NBC also hit a 52 Week Low of the Year at 33.34. That means, it ALSO hit the LOWEST PRICE it had been in a year.

In addition, on 1/08/08, NewCorps(NWS) stock his a 52 Week Low of the Year at 19.33.

On 1/17/08 VIA is down -8.2% since the strike began on Nov.5, 2007.