WGA West Says TV Showrunners Will Hold Talks With Studios To “Protect The Role Of Writers” In Reopening Protocols

WGA West

The WGA West, which did not participate directly in the drafting of industrywide protocols for the safe reopening of film and TV production, said Wednesday that it is “aligned” with efforts by Hollywood’s other unions “to resume production safely and as soon as possible.” The guild also released a statement signed by nearly 300 TV showrunners, who the guild said “will organize discussions with each studio to make sure they protect the role of writers as they determine the best protocols to safeguard their productions, casts and crews.”

As Deadline reported yesterday, showrunners aren’t mentioned in the protocols drafted by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force’s “white paper” on reopening, or in the separate “Safe Way Forward” guidelines established by SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the DGA and Teamsters Local 399 to implement the white paper. “There have been some rumors going around that the protocols aim to exclude creators, showrunners and writer/producers from set. This is not the case,” leaders of the WGA East said Tuesday.

The WGA West told its members today that “There are ongoing and increasingly urgent discussions in the industry about how and when to resume production. We know some members are feeling anxious about what new protocols might mean for writers, so we wanted to give you a brief update. The WGAW has convened meetings over the past two months with showrunners across all genres to formulate responses to challenges of COVID-era writing and production. Individually, showrunners have been meeting with studio executives about how to produce shows when the time comes to reopen. Collectively, Guild showrunners signed a statement , and will organize discussions with each studio to make sure they protect the role of writers as they determine the best protocols to safeguard their productions, casts and crews.

“This month the AMPTP put out a white paper with guidelines for reopening motion picture, television and streaming productions in the era of COVID-19, and entertainment unions belonging to the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee put out a separate non-binding document called ‘A Safe Way Forward.’ Although the WGA is not part of that committee, which predates the pandemic and historically has dealt with on-set safety issues, we are aligned with their desire to resume production safely and as soon as possible. The Guild and showrunners will make sure that writers and their interests are protected in the process. For instance, several studios have already acknowledged to showrunners that the central role of writers on set must be accounted for in whatever protocols are finally adopted.”

In their statement, the showrunners said: “In television, the Showrunner is responsible for overseeing the writing, directing, producing and post-production of their television series. We are also the liaison between the production and the network/studio, and the hub through which issues of health and safety run.

“So we take a deep interest in the health and safety not just of our sets but of the entire production, including post-production. To that end, we applaud DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the Teamsters’ efforts in their document ‘The Safe Way Forward’ and appreciate the work of the individual unions and Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force.

“As these white papers suggest, the key to these protocols achieving the desired effect – creating the healthiest workable production scenarios possible – is that the protocols are adopted widely and completely. All the departments must work together, and not at cross-purposes, in their pursuit of production health.

“The Showrunner’s role here is essential. Since the Showrunner hires and supervises the director, actors, writers, casting director, production designers, and editors, our casts and crews will be looking to us for reassurance and creative direction, as they did before the crisis. We will work with our partners at our sister unions to communicate, enact, and ensure that every possible effort is made to keep workers safe as they execute the creative mission of the show.

“We agree that testing is paramount and the cornerstone of any return to work. We also find their suggestion of a zone system smart and essential – with one caveat: to reduce a director’s guesswork in trying to execute the Showrunner’s vision, and, therefore, reduce the number of reshoots, the involvement of the Showrunners and their writer proxies on the set is a must – either in person or if those with disability or underlying health issues are unable to be on set physically, with proper accommodations so they can still do their jobs effectively.

“The Showrunners believe the next step is not to add another white paper to the discussion. Instead, we will focus on additions to ‘The Safe Way Forward’ that underline the practical importance of collaboration.

“We do believe we can all return to work safely and many of us have been in touch with our casts about changes that individual productions will make to ensure health and safety. Now comes the hard work. The Showrunners are ready to get to it and we welcome discussions with individual studios as soon as possible.”

Here are the showrunners who signed today’s statement:

Rebecca Addelman
Mike Alber
Sheryl J. Anderson
Dave Andron
Nick Antosca
Josh Appelbaum
Meredith Averill
Jenna Bans
Carol Barbee
Alex Barnow
Kenya Barris
Janine Sherman Barrois
Simon Barry
Bridget Bedard
Roberto Benabib
Jason Berger
Kevin Biegel
Steven D. Binder
Chris Bishop
Max Borenstein
Yvette Bowser
Brian Boyle
Chris Brancato
Josh Bycel
Peter Calloway
Frank Cardea
John Carney
Glenn Gordon Caron
Nkechi Okoro Carroll
Tucker Cawley
Marissa Jo Cerar
Andrew Chambliss
Marc Cherry
Eliza Clark
Daniel Connolly
Greg Coolidge
Akela Cooper
Matt Corman
Dan Cross
Alexandra Cunningham
Carlton Cuse
Andrew Dabb
Meg DeLoatch
David DiGilio
Karey Dornetto
Caroline Dries
Charles H. Eglee
Kerry Ehrin
John Eisendrath
Jed Elinoff
Tim Federle
Matthew Federman
Liz Feldman
Hannah Fidell
Deb Fisher
Micah Fitzerman-Blue
Jennifer Flackett
Etan Frankel
Anna Fricke
Maggie Friedman
Mark Friedman
Diane Frolov
Emma Frost
Daniel Futterman
Kelly Galuska
Sera Gamble
Eric Garcia
R. Scott Gemmill
Dean Georgaris
Martin Gero
Vince Gilligan
Karin Gist
Adam Glass
Andrew Goldberg
Ian Goldberg
David A. Goodman
Peter Gould
David S. Goyer
Hilary Graham
Seth Grahame-Smith
Michael Grassi
Jonathan Green
David Guarascio
Eric Guggenheim
Tanya Hamilton
Noah Harpster
Dee Harris-Lawrence
Todd Harthan
Becky Hartman Edwards
Alexi Hawley
Eric Haywood
Josh Heald
Allan Heinberg
Keith Heisler
Eric Heisserer
Kevin Hench
Joe Henderson
Regina Y. Hicks
Lauren Hissrich
Josh Hlavin
Chad Hodge
David Hoge
Charles Holland
Chris Hollier
Dave Holstein
Adam Horowitz
Spencer Hudnut
Randy Huggins
Jon Hurwitz
Lauren Iungerich
Rick Jaffa
Elgin James
Al Jean
Joanna Johnson
Angela Kang
Jason Katims
Gloria Calderon Kellett
Chris Keyser
Callie Khouri
Albert Kim
Sang Kyu Kim
Jonathan Kimmel
Anthony King
Michelle King
Robert King
Edward Kitsis
Phil Klemmer
Daniel Knauf
Jay Kogen
Jenni Konner
Bill Krebs
Liz Kruger
Meredith Lavender
Aaron Lee
Mark Levin
Steve Lightfoot
Benjamin Lobato
Attica Locke
Phil Lord
Chuck Lorre
Jeff Lowell
Caryn P. Lucas
Monica Macer
Carina Adly MacKenzie Michael MacLennan
Steven Maeda
Don Mancini
John Mankiewicz
Brandon Margolis
Justin Marks
Bill Martin
Brett Matthews
Glen Mazzara
Colleen McGuinness
Tim McKeon
Wendy Mericle
Erica Messer
Gabe Miller
Christopher Miller
Tim Minear
Arika Lisanne Mittman
Ildy Modrovich
Lizzie Molyneux
Wendy Molyneux
Lauren Morelli
Chris Mundy
Ryan Murphy
Peter Murrieta
Henry Alonso Myers
DJ Nash
Matt Negrete
André Nemec
Eric Newman
Justin Noble
Ryan O’Connell
Erik Oleson
Tracy Oliver
George R. Olson
Chris Ord
Andrew Orenstein
Sierra Teller Ornelas
Daniel Palladino
Charles Parlapanides
Vlas Parlapanides
Will Pascoe
Jim Patterson
Saladin Patterson
Ilana Peña
Sascha Penn
Jeff Pinkner
Greg Plageman
Julie Plec
Joe Port
Charles Pratt, Jr.
Dawn Prestwich
Michael Price
Kate Purdy
Rashad Raisani
Elwood Reid
Josh Reims
Mark Reisman
Jim Reynolds
Matthew B. Roberts
Dailyn Rodriguez
Kate Rorick
Gary Rosen
Mike Royce
Stacy Rukeyser
Alexandra Rushfield
Shawn Ryan
Marja-Lewis Ryan
Joshua Safran
Peter Saji
Andrea Savage
Stephen Scaia
Alison Schapker
Mike Schiff
Hayden Schlossberg
Andrew Schneider
David Schulner
Mike Schur
Beth Schwartz
Julie Scully
Mike Scully
Sanjay Shah
Naren Shankar
Far Shariat
Julius Sharpe
Devon Shepard
Chris Sheridan
Amy Sherman-Palladino
David Shore
Rachel Shukert
Amanda Silver
Craig Silverstein
Joey Slamon
Jeremy Slater
Alena Smith
Kira Snyder
Patrick Somerville
Brandon Sonnier
Holly Sorensen
Anthony Sparks
Emily Spivey
Greg Spottiswood
Darren Star
Hank Steinberg
John Stephens
Jared Stern
Jonathan Stern
Meredith Stiehm
Rob Sudduth
Craig Sweeny
Melinda Hsu Taylor
Aaron Rahsaan Thomas
Scott Thomas
Peter Tolan
Nikki Toscano
Nichelle Tramble Spellman
Alex Tse
Raelle Tucker
Marcie Ulin
Chris Van Dusen
Pam Veasey
Krista Vernoff
Cyrus Voris
Greg Walker
Eric Wallace
Tim Walsh
Kirk Ward
Sarah Watson
Sharon Lee Watson
David Weil
Matthew Weiner
Matt Weitzman
Jeff Westbrook
Emily Whitesell
Rick Wiener
Vaun Wilmott
Austin Winsberg
Hilary Winston
John Wirth
James Wong
Alexander Woo
Nicole Yorkin
Brian Young
Moisés Zamora
Lenore Zion

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2020/06/wga-west-showrunners-studio-talks-reopening-hollywood-production-protocols-protections-1202961645/