Having been the first to break the initial story of the WGA writers’ walkout on Sony’s Sit Down, Shut Up!, and then to follow the controversy (see my posts below), I was given this statement below. I’m thrilled to see enough give-and-take by Sony and some of the writers on this animated primetime show for Fox so a lot of peoples’ jobs above and below the line are saved. But what horseshit for Sony to have kept whining it couldn’t change the toon’s jurisdiction without getting sued by IATSE. (As if…) And it’s important to note that two of the toon’s scribes, Bill Oakley and Ken Keeler, are still holding out for WGA jurisdiction. I commend them but I also can’t condemn those who went back, either. This was their fight, not mine.
Here’s what the writers going back have to say:
After five weeks of negotiations, we have accepted employment as writers for Sit Down, Shut Up! under a new contract.
Though the program will be produced under the jurisdiction of IATSE Local 839, The Animation Guild (TAG), we have achieved Writers Guild of America (WGA) parity in key areas such as auditable residuals, new media, script fees, merchandising rights as well as a guarantee that these gains apply not only to ourselves but also to all future writers on the show.
We thank the WGA for its guidance and support during this process. We believe we’ve made a statement to the studios how important the standards of the WGA are to working writers. All animation writing — television and features — should be covered by the WGA.
This contract is a compromise: an improvement over the standard TAG terms we were initially offered, but not full WGA coverage. Compromises are never easy nor satisfying, always less comforting than a clear victory. We know that this is part of an ongoing struggle.
Reaching a deal will allow this program to move forward, providing jobs for many writers, animators, actors and production staff. Not every writer originally offered employment on Sit Down, Shut Up! has decided whether to return, and we understand and respect whatever decision they make. We remain hopeful that all animation writing will one day be covered by a WGA contract.
We appreciate that Sony eventually met so many of the terms essential to us. We look forward to working with the producers and the show’s creator, Mitch Hurwitz, and we are committed to writing the best show we can. We promise that our episodes will be at least as funny as this press release.