(…keep refreshing for latest… I’ll file more after dinner…)
Photos of strikers at the Paramount gate…
Robert Patrick and Max Martini of The Unit were at CBS picketing with their writing staff. The strikers all sang “Happy Birthday” to Patrick.
Ellen DeGeneres was a no-show Monday for filming of her daytime talk show. “Ellen did not go to work today in support of her writers,” her flack Kelly Bush told reporters. New episodes of The Ellen DeGeneres Show that were filmed before the strike were set to air through Tuesday. After that…?
WGA East strikers displayed a giant inflatable rat as picketers shouted: “No contract, no shows!” Walking the line in NYC were Tom Fontana, Kevin Wade, Adam Brooks, Warren Leight, John Patric Shanley, Jon Robin Baitz, Charlie Rubin, Tina Fey, Eric Overmyer, Doug McGrath, and many writers from the staff of Conan, the staff of John Stewart, the staff of Colbert, the staff of SNL (inluding several performers), the staff of Letterman, the staff of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, the New York staff of Law & Order, the staff of Monk and on and on and on.
Nick Counter, prez of AMPTP told reporters today: “We’re hunkered down for a long one.”
Jon Avnet walked the picket line at Sony.
UPDATE: Others saying Journeyman did not suspend today.
UPDATE: I’ve just been told that CBS/Paramount is thus far the only studio to send out letters suspending all TV deals not currently in production. Warners, 20th, Sony etc are said to be individually meeting about their options.
Rachel Griffiths (Brothers & Sisters) and a castmate rode their bikes from inside the Disney lot to the Riverside Gate and said they were there to do a Starbucks run for the picketing writers. They took individual orders and returned with free coffee for several writers along with sunscreen and baseball caps.
From inside the mogul camp: There are no negotiations scheduled or even planned between AMPTP or WGA in the near future. From my own reporting, the Hollywood CEOs are still really, really pissed that, after asking for the walkout to be suspended while the talks continued, the WGA negotiators never told them that the East had gone out on strike. The moguls worked the phones until 9:30 am Pacific time last night keeping track of the talks progress — until they heard the strike had begun. “We can’t trust them anymore,” an insider told me. “How do you negotiate with people you can’t trust?” Then the talks stopped, and the dueling statements began. The moguls are convinced they were played all Sunday and that nothing would have deterred Patric Verrone or Dave Young from a strike agenda. So there you have the moguls’ viewpoint.
At Fox, Diane English, Jim Brooks and Callie Khouri were all picketing as well as actors Peter MacNichol (Numbers), David Boreanaz (Bones), Lorraine Newman (ex-SNL), and Anne Dudek and Olivia Wilde from House. “It was a great first day,” one writer told me tonight. “By Friday, I promise you, I’m not going to be so enamored of it.”
“Hey Nikki: This is a picture of the shoe belonging to the guy that was run over this morning at Sunset and Gower. The chalk is from the police markings of the ‘crime scene’. The writer was taken to Cedars. We don’t know how he’s doing, but his shoe looks pretty damaged. We just hope his toes were not as badly twisted.
Best, WGA picketer at Sunset Gower.”
I just received a firm denial of a rumor flying around that, instead of crossing the picket line, a major showrunner of two McPopular ABC shows is relocating her offices off lot to continue her duties while other showrunners refuse to work. A Shonda Rhimes insider told me a second ago: “No. She’s standing tall with the other showrunners.”
WGA just announced this from Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama:
“I stand with the writers. The Guild’s demand is a test of whether media corporations are going to give writers a fair share of the wealth their work creates or continue concentrating profits in the hands of their executives. I urge the producers to work with the writers so that everyone can get back to work.”
Agent just told me NBC’s Journeyman shut down today.
Also on the morning picketing shift at Sony: multi-hyphenate mogul Judd Apatow (“who had a group of younger comedy writers seem this close to pitching him ideas”), showrunners Mike Schiff and Bill Martin, who created Grounded for Life and now run ABC’s Cavemen which is filmed on the Sony lot.
I hear that at Paramount, Billy Baldwin (ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money) and America
Ferrera (ABC’s Ugly Betty) joined the line. Vanessa Williams brought picketers snacks.
From a picketer: “You walk the line and you share stories, share biographies, hear the circuitous routes that people took to get here, simply because they love telling stories. My feet hurt, but my heart doesn’t.”
Rumors that all TV term deals not currently in production have just been suspended at all television studios in town. Supposedly support staff and everyone else have until the end of the day today to clear out. I’m trying to confirm…
I’m told that today at noon inside Petes Coffee Brentwood, two separate guys working on Final Draft for the whole world to see on their laptops at the window facing the line of people waiting to pay got nothing but dirty looks. Hilarious. So now writing in public is verboten and everyone has to do it in the privacy of their own homes?
Reports of studio strikers staying in the street on the “walk” signal for as long as it lasts to delay cars trying to enter the studio. Sounds like a “bit” from someone’s script.
Paul Haggis walking the picket line during the morning shift at Sony, the studio that’s paying him $4+ million (rumored near $5 mil) for the new Bond script. Then again, screenwriters were told to picket their primary place of employment … or else.
You know that report I cited earlier that Jon Stewart is paying his writers’ salaries during the first two weeks of the strike out of his own pocket, for both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, according to Portfolio.com? Well, his rep has denied it. That’s right, denied it.
On the WGA east picket lines in NYC: John Leguizamo, Pulitzer Prize winner John Patrick Shanley, Tina Fey…
Buzz about what’s going on at The Office. Rumors that the Teamsters are refusing to cross the picket line over at the studio there, and the show may shut down shooting. Word that both WGA members Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson did not show up today in support of the writers strike, so The Office had a short production day.
A picketing writer was hit by a car in Hollywood just hours into the strike, according to KABC-TV. A driver “basically said, ‘Get the ‘F’ out of the way’, and then hit the gas and just plowed into this guy,” said writer Linda Berston, who witnessed the incident. “The group was just walking across the driveway, and the guy basically started running him over without giving him a chance to move out of the way.”
This is what my reporting life might be like for the forseeable future unless this strike settles: WGA press bulletins announcing that CSI: Crime Scene Investigation‘s Marg Helgenberger is walking the picket line at Universal Studios lot “NOW” in support of the WGA strike.
Break.com is holding a $5,000 contest for all the striking WGA members to submit a video to Break.com. “With Break.com receiving close to 1.5 million guys watching over 12,000 videos on their site every day, it is the perfect place for WGA members to continue to distribute their passion project to millions of viewers!” Break.com is offering the $5K to the highest rated video from a writer officially on strike. The contest is open now. (Founded in 1998, Break.com claims to be the Internet’s leading cross-platform, digital entertainment network offering funny, original short-form free videos and pictures to millions of Internet users and mobile subscribers around the world.)
I’m told there was a lot of action at CBS Radford and the WGA West picketing supposedly shut down Cane. Turns out the 2nd unit filming was moved due to noise , but Cane is still filming as scheduled. The brief shutdown came as about 20 writers chanted, screamed and used a bullhorn outside a cafe near the CBS lot in Studio City. So the location manager for the show hired two off-duty Los Angeles police officers and five private security guards to “maintain order”. After they thought shooting was stopped, writers cheered and rejoined picketers around the corner at the studio.
Also I hear word that Julia Louis-Dreyfus walked from The New Adventures of Old Christine to join the writers picket line and may have shut down her show as a result. Her husband, of course, is writer and sometime showrunner Brad Hall.
Hot T-shirt for the picket lines: the one where Jon Stewart of The Daily Show imitating “the studios” by raising his hands like he’s crazy and saying, “The internet – it’s too new!!”
At Paramount, the early morning picketers were at the gates on Melrose, which are basically guest parking and executive parking. The Van Ness gate, which is where the rank-and-file workers and the trucks enter, was un-picketed. I’m told that picketing only on Melrose won’t shut down a single production. Then the picketers arrived at Van Ness.