February 14 – February 21, 2008 Edition

Striking Writers

Due to Resume

Work This week

HOLLYWOOD, CA/2/11/08–Hollywood writers were expected to return to work the week of February 11, ending a costly three-month-old writers strike by the Writers Guild of America. According to ABC News, writers were encouraged over the weekend to accept the latest contract proposal. A Saturday general membership meeting was followed Sunday by an executive meeting where board members were expected to officially lift the strike against major production studios. Results of that meeting were blacked out to media.

The new Guild contract, described by some insiders as "less than perfect," though better than if they had not called a strike, will take another two weeks to fully ratify, but writers are due to return to their desks by mid-week, meaning that shows such as "House" and "Grey’s Anatomy", "CSI" could flesh out the season with new episodes.

The agreement guarantees that writers will receive residuals for work appearing on the Internet or other new media such as cell phones. For many writers, residual payments for previous work keep them fed between jobs. However, concerns remain that if the Internet replaces what is now known as television, writers could make considerably less money when their work is redisplayed. One potentially sticky issue is whether production studios will have the right to stream works over the Internet just 24 days after a television program airs, without paying residuals to the writers. The WGA hasn’t discussed some of the finer details of the contract with the media. We’ll report more details as they develop.

It is the first time in 20 years the WGA has struck. The walkout, which began in November 2007, has involved more than 10,000 WGA members, and has cost an estimated $1.9 billion in lost wages throughout the television and film industry.