"Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Management can’t write the show!"
"Webisodes and DVD, we won’t write ‘em, not for free!"
These were the choice chants of the picketing members of the Writers Guild of America at Prospect Studios in Los Angeles—and some of our Seattle Grace favorites, who were shooting Grey's Anatomy inside the studio, spent their hourlong lunchbreak on the picket line to show their support.
In attendance were Patrick Dempsey, Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, T.R. Knight, Katherine Heigl, Eric Dane, Sara Ramirez, Brooke Smith, Justin Chambers and James Pickens Jr.—and here's what they said...
"We want to support these writers and what they do," Mr. Pickens (c'mon, he's the Chief) told us. "They are the artists behind the words that the actors and performers speak every week. They’re the ones who have made this show such a huge success. It’s just incredible what they’ve done over the past four seasons. They should be compensated for their talent. They just want an equitable share of this huge pie."
T.R. (who blushed when asked how he feels about George and Izzie, saying, "I've seen more than you, and things happen in the next few episodes, so I can't comment, or I'll get in trouble"...hmmmm) said this: "Corporations, they make money, that’s their job. So, I suppose they think that the more money they make, the better it is for them. But in the meantime, they have to treat the people who help them earn their money properly."
"If the fans want to support the actors and the writers, do not download shows on the Internet," Ellen suggested. "Don’t watch them, because the writers aren't paid for them."
As for how much longer we'll get our Grey's fix, she explained: "Episode seven airs this week. So, we just have a few more left, and then there will be no new episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. I think everybody’s really worried. You know, the actors don’t have as much to worry about obviously, we’re very well compensated for what we do. It’s the crew that has a lot to worry about. This affects everybody, and they can’t afford to have four or five months off. It’s Christmas, they have mortgages."
"The thing is, I watch a lot of TV on the Internet," Katherine confessed. "I download everything, including my own stuff, when I’m sitting at home, when I’m on set, I watch it on my laptop for free on abc.com or nbc.com or any [of the sites]. And they’re definitely putting in commercials, they’re putting in big blocks of advertising time, and they’re making money off reairing these episodes online. When an episode airs more than once on television, the actors and the writers and the directors get residuals for that. And right now, the [studios] are allowed to repeat these shows [online] for people who didn’t catch them the night before without giving out a fair share of the profits."
As Katherine, Ellen and Sandra point out, this is really also an issue for the actors, whose current SAG contract will come up for review in June.
"We're fighting the same fight," Sandra said, just before the cast's lunch hour came to an end and she was called back to set.
The Grey's stars will continue shooting until they complete episode 11 on Tuesday, then production is expected to shut down. The writers and show runners have been picketing and not working since Monday.
—With reporting by Korbi Ghosh