As if this week’s controversy over non-WGA member Carson Daly crossing the picket line and going back to work wasn’t enough, here’s more. Adam Waring, a WGA West member and sitcom scribe who wrote for Two And A Half Men and Still Standing, tells me he had a too-close encounter of the picketer-vehicle kind with the SUV ferrying Daly to NBC’s Last Call on Thursday. (And now that he’s gone public about it to me in an email with the subject line, “Carson Daly Almost Ran Me Over at NBC,” Waring quipped when I called to authenticate it, “Well, I’ll never get a job on that show.”) The incident at Bob Hope Gate was also witnessed by writer Ron Osborn whose emailed recounting backs up Waring’s:
I’m told that Waring, Osborn and writer Shari Goodhartz were picketing at NBC on Thursday when the WGA organizers instructed them to be on the lookout for a black Cadillac Escalade with a bike rack. because it is Carson Daly’s car. The late night host was returning to work for the first time since the strike started, and the WGA “was determined to try and stop him,” Waring explained. “At about 2:30 PM, they got word that his car had driven past one of the gates but had not turned in. Then they realized that there was no one picketing at Gate #3.” That gate on Alamada requires a swipe card and is used mostly by executives. “They sent three of us from Gate 1 up there at a sprint, and, within 5 minutes of getting there, we saw his car,” Waring recounted.
Daly was being chauffered by a driver and was seated on the passenger side.
According to Osborn, “Sure ’nuff, his Escalade drives up, sees us, and turns away, going north on Niagara, a side street. He’s gone for a few minutes. A guard then walks out from the building and stands by the key entry. A moment later, the Death Star comes back from Niagara and barrels across Alameda. Adam gets in the way at the driveway, and the vehicle slows down to a crawl. Carson’s window is down a few inches and we shout at him to ‘respect the line.’ I try to shove some leaflets into the window.”
Waring said, “We stood in his path. But his window was cracked [open], and we all distinctly heard him tell his driver, ‘Keep driving.’ And he did!”
Osborn added: “And sensitive to our situation, he says, ‘Keep driving.’ The car accelerates. Adam jumps aside. My fliers don’t make it in.”
According to Waring, “He slowed down a little, but he kept coming at us. I finally had to move out of the way, but we all were yelling and pleading with him to reconsider going back to work because he was really hurting our cause, etc. But he didn’t respond. In the meantime, a security guard had appeared, opened the gate and Carson’s car drove on. A big bummer and highly dramatic.”
Summed up Osborn, “We kept him from makeup and wardrobe and his cappucino machine a good five minutes or so as he skulked around the studio. I wish I could say I watched his show so I could boycott it.”
And while I’m on the topic of Carson Daly, I was told by NBC he was probably going to lose his show if he didn’t return to work. Oh, like that would have been a great loss to humanity, much less television. It’s incredible the lousy publicity which Daly’s decision to cross the picket line is creating. After Carson began soliciting scab jokes, several websites (here and here are two) sprung up soliciting jokes about Daly, the nastier the better.
Here’s David Letterman writer Bill Sheft’s from lateshowwritersonstrike.com: “The networks are furiously retooling their primetime schedules in case the writers strike continues through the holidays. Over at NBC, Carson Daly will be hosting his own three-hour special December 31, ‘Scabbin’ New Year’s Eve.’ ”