December 2007 Archive

“Why We Write” #2: Steven Levitan

Installment #2 Today's piece is written by Steven Levitan, creator of Just Shoot Me and co-creator of Back To You. I swear to God this is true.  A couple of years ago I had lunch with a network president who asked me the following question: "If I offered you a billion dollars, but you could never write again, would you take it?" I tried to keep a straight face and act snooty because I knew he assumed my answer would be "no" and was paying me a compliment, but, let's… Read

EXCLUSIVE: Attempt Fails To Restart WGA-AMPTP Talks; Outlook Very Grim

Here is what is clear to me based on new reporting about the entrenched positions of both sides: hopes for any kind of settlement have dimmed. I have learned that last week Jeffrey Katzenberg tried and failed to backchannel a compromise that would have brought both the WGA and the AMPTP back to the bargaining table. It was an effort that was laudable. But the fact that it was unsuccessful dramatically points up disturbing realities, I have learned: that the CEOs are… Read

Here's Striking WGAE Xmas Statement (I'm Sure AMPTP's Isn't Far Behind…)

Dear Fellow Members of the Writers Guild, East:I write this to you two nights before Christmas. It's tough as hell to be on strike during the holiday season. Not only are we staging outdoor pickets and other events in the throes of winter's cold, we're without work and paychecks at a moment when gift giving and good times are very much on the minds of everyone around us, especially our friends and loved ones. Yet we know that what we're fighting for is worth it, that… Read

Weinraub Play To Be Performed In LA

The Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles will present the West Coast premiere of The Accomplices, the first play written by former New York Times Hollywood correspondent (and my close pal) Bernie Weinraub. Previews begin March 27th, then the play runs April 4th through May 18th. It will also be performed this spring in Coral Gables, Fla. It was previously produced off-Broadway this year by the New Group and nominated for a prestigious Drama Desk Award. Does NY Times Need New… Read

RIP: Irv Letofsky

Irv Letofsky, former Calendar editor of the Los Angeles Times, died this morning shortly before 11 AM at his home surrounded by family and listening to ragtime. A memorial service will be held this Friday December 28th at 2 PM at Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles (6001 W. Centinela Avenue). A reception will follow.  Read

Box Office

MOVIES CROWD THE CHRISTMAS MALLS: Nic's 'National Treasure 2' Tops $45.5M; 'Charlie Wilson' #4, 'Sweeney Todd' #5

SUNDAY AM: Not only were the shopping malls crowded this pre-Christmas weekend, but even more so the domestic box office which scored the biggest December weekend in Hollywood history. Disney / Buena Vista's mystery thriller National Treasure 2 opened extremely wide to at least $16.5 million Friday and $15.5 million Saturday and an estimated $13.5 million Sunday from 3,832 theaters for a $45.5 million start. That's right in line with predictions for this sequel Book Of… Read

“We Want The Awards” Really? Truly? No!

The AMPTP set up a new website tonight labeled WeWantTheAwards.com. Its mission? “Please urge the Writers Guild to allow the awards shows to go on as planned.” This is what happens when the WGA hits a nerve among the entertainment establishment and when an out-of-town PR firm hired by the AMPTP gets something terribly wrong. Because the truth as we all know it is that most of Hollywood dreads every awards show, hates all the hassle involved, and would love nothing… Read

The Reality Behind AMPTP.com Rumors

WGA member and comedy writer John Aboud tells me tonight that AMPTP.com, the spoof site of AMPTP.org, has come to an end. “We were renting the url from the owner, and he graciously left it up even longer than we paid for. It was fun, but it's run its course. If nothing else we forced the AMPTP to hire a better designer and buy a stock photo CD of 'professions.' ” As for all those rumors that the website's owner was threatened with a cease and desist letter, and… Read

“Why We Write” #1: By Greg Garcia

Installment #1 By Greg Garcia, Creator and Executive Producer of My Name Is Earl. I hate writing. I hate it. Sitting down to write a script is torture. In fact, the only good thing that's come out of this strike is that it's given me an actual legitimate excuse not to write. Usually I have to spend most of my mornings trying to come up with reasons to be lazy. But these days, I simply wake up and my guild has decided that I am not permitted to put pen to paper. Not… Read

WGA Met With Reps For Worldwide Pants

“Representatives from Worldwide Pants and the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of America, East met today in Los Angeles. A lively exchange of information took place.  The WGAW and WGAE will not comment further,” according to a WGA statement. here's what Rob Burnett, president/CEO of Worldwide Pants and longtime executive producer of The Late Show With David Letterman, said: “We had a substantive discussion today with the WGA and look forward to… Read

“Speechless” #27: Montage

Cast: Woody Allen, William H. Macy, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Rosanne Arquette, Richard Benjamin, Peter Weller, Paula Prentiss, Patricia Clarkson, Patricia Arquette, Nicolette Sheridan, Matthew Modine, Martin Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, Laura Linney, Kenny Johnson, Cathy Cahlin Ryan, Catherine Dent, Paula Garces, Michael Jace, Jay Karnes, Benito Martinez, CCH Pounder, David Snell, Nicki Micheaux, Olivia Wilde, Marcia Cross, John Amos, Michael Weatherly, Gary… Read

Official: Stewart/Colbert Return Jan. 7th

Now that almost all the other late night hosts are returning right after the new year, the latest news is that Jon Stewart (a WGA member) and Stephen Colbert (also a WGA member) are headed back into the studios on January 7th. The good news is that this could make the 2008 Presidential race that much more interesting. The bad news is that the shows won't have available to them the WGA writers who would make the shows that much more interesting. Both late-night shows were… Read