October 2007 Archive

Rename It The 'Fear Validation Program'

Individual writers this week are starting to receive scary threatening letters from the studios and networks warning about the WGA's “script validation program” just as the Writer's Guild Of America responds to the AMPTP on the matter. (As I've reported previously, the controversy boils down to this: the guild wants members to submit copies of any half-finished scripts etc to headquarters. The producers don't.) The letters were sent to the writers via their agencies… Read

Another WGA/AMPTP Pre-Strike Update…

I've learned how things will work with the federal mediator today. Basically, he meets with one side, then the other side, and that should take all morning. No one expects him to referee any real negotiating until this afternoon at the earliest. This is really getting down to the wire. Here is the timetable if a strike is called. I'm told that the turnout was strong this morning for the WGA's informational hand-outs to union truck drivers and any driver who enters five… Read

A New Boss For HollywoodReporter.com

Nielsen Business Media today announced former TelevisionWeek and TVWeek.com Managing Editor Melissa Grego has been named Editor of HollywoodReporter.com. She'll oversee all of the paper's online content and initiatives and report to Scott McKenzie, who was recently appointed vp, Editorial Director for Nielsen Business Media's digital media group. At TVWeek, Grego penned the blog Mel's Diner and hosted weekly… Read

AMPTP Suddenly Feeling Teamsters' Heat

Tonight, the AMPTP president Nick Counter sent this letter to the major basic craft unions “in the face of some misinformation and rumors regarding [their] contractual No Strike obligations”. Funny enough, it posted on the producers' website soon after I posted this news about Leo Reed's Teamsters Local 399 (see my previous: 'Most' Hollywood Teamsters To Honor WGA Picket Lines, Says Union Insider). Counter warned Studio Transportation Drivers Local 399, Plumbers Local 78… Read

Latest Strike News: WGA Lobbies Crews & Teamsters; The 411 On Federal Mediator; Strike & Picketing Timetable For Writers

I've learned that the WGA is currently working on newsletters to distribute to crews and other industry workers to explain its position in the face of what it is calling the AMPTP's “misinformation” campaign. This follows anecdotal reports I've received from various network shows that crews are expressing their anger about the looming strike. I'm told that Tuesday morning, from 6-8 am, WGA members will be handing out flyers to union truck drivers and any driver who… Read

'Most' Hollywood Teamsters To Honor WGA Picket Lines, Says Union Insider

UPDATE: AMPTP Suddenly Feeling Teamsters' Heat URGENT: The “Hollywood Teamsters” — aka the Motion Picture and Theatrical Trade Teamsters (Teamsters Local 399) which reps over 4,800 studio drivers, casting directors and location managers — today urged members to honor the WGA's picket lines. I'm told this follows a meeting they held on Sunday morning where Secretary-Treasurer Leo T, Reed, who has held the key leadership slot at the local since 1988, reminded them that… Read

AMPTP's Nick Counter Stays On Message

TV Week Q-&-A published today shows Nick Counter, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, is still breathing fire. He calls the WGA demands “so over-the-top and unreasonable”. Here's what I found interesting: TVWeek: How do things change for you once they have the power to call a strike at any time? Counter: From a negotiating standpoint, we'll continue to negotiate until we reach an agreement irrespective of whether they strike. I told them… Read

Jeff Zucker's PR Machine Works Overtime

How nice to know that, while a major Hollywood strike looms, Jeff Zucker has nothing better to do today than get his knob shined by CEO Pornster Ken Auletta over breakfast at an event sponsored by the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Zucker made the most definitive statement yet that GE boss Jeffrey Immelt isn't going to sell NBC Universal after the Olympics, as many media outlets are forecasting. As for the writers' strike looming, he said “unfortunately” it's… Read

Screenwriters Videoed In Their Day Jobs

Since everyone needs humor now, here's a very funny 1-minute video from WGA members Gregg Rossen and Brian Sawyer about what Hollywood screenwriters will be doing for day jobs post-strike. Featured are Paul Guay (Liar, Liar), Doug Eboch (Sweet Home Alabama), Harris Goldberg (Deuce Bigalow), Dave Garrett (Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo), Cindy & Don Hewitt (Spirited Away), and Tom Donnelly (Sahara). Is this the next reality… Read

STRIKE COUNTDOWN: WGAW's Verrone Forsees 'Rumors, Lies, Even Threats' And 'Low-Ball 11th Hour Offer' By AMPTP

Tonight, WGA West President Patric Verrone issued to members this pre-strike email obtained by me. It paints an ugly picture of what lies ahead for the next three days until the guild's contract expires. He warned members about “a climate of fear on both sides” and a producers' strategy of “brinkmanship [that] will likely be met by fear, confusion, and even acrimony”. This sounds to me like a reaction to the ridiculously one-sided slant of today's Los Angeles Times… Read

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