Shrine Auditorium, WGA Strike Meeting

The strike is over.

I just got back from the big WGA meeting at the Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles, and I am 97 percent sure of this for two reasons:

  1. James L. Brooks, who has three Oscars, 19 Emmys, one measly Golden Globe and cocreated a little show called The Simpsons, told me, "I think we're gonna be good. I think the strike is over."
  2. A kid named Jerome borrowed my pen so he could write down the phone number of a guy he was networking with, because Jerome just lost his current job—as a strike assistant.

Check out our news story to get the exact timeline of what will happen next, including when the TV business will be back at work (midweekish), but for my eye and earwitness report of what went on at the big show, read on...

Names and Numbers

  • Recognizable faces in the crowd included writers Tim Kring (Heroes), Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men), Josh Friedman (Terminator), Bill Lawrence (Scrubs) and Marti Noxon, plus actors Ian Gomez (Javier from Felicity) and David Krumholtz (Numb3rs).
  • Big-deal writers on the dais inside included Lost's Carlton Cuse and Rain Man writer Ron Bass.
  • Nelson the nice security guard busted me for lurking too close to the building, but he made up for it by sharing that organizers had counted approximately 3,000 attendees.

Inside the Hall

  • Simpsons exec producer Tim Long described the meeting as, well, chatty, saying, "Writers like to talk, so there was not a Samuel Beckett-like economy of verbiage, more of a Joycean effluence...And if that quote shows up on your website, I will be very impressed."
  • A snarky show runner pal armed with an iPhone reported in about the speeches: "They're reading that bidness off some paper cursed with a dull-as-s**t spell."
  • Battlestar Galactica writer and Buffy alum Jane Espenson told me, "It was great. I learned tons. There was a lot of math, but I was always kind of good at math, and it was inspiring and interesting. I think the deal on a scale of 1 to 10 is like an 8, but my 'hopeful meter' is all the way up at 10."
  • Two and a Half Men exec producer Lee Aronsohn mostly just enjoyed the snacks: "I loved the brownies. It was worth the trip just for that. I don't get any brownies at home."

Stopping Traffic:  Two cars across from the Shrine collided at the exact moment Cuse turned off the street into the parking lot. I choose to believe the drivers were Lost fans who got distracted.

Car Talk:  Speaking of traffic, parking was the big drama of the evening, with the incoming writers spilling out of the Shrine lot onto every street in the West Adams district of Los Angeles. Writer Reid Harrison noted, "I parked over by a [USC] fraternity house. When I get back, I hope there are still wheels on the car." And not that you couldn't have guessed this, but based on the contents of the Shrine Auditorium parking lot, the Toyota Prius is the official automobile of the Writers Guild of America, West. The record for Priuses parked in a row currently stands at five. Last but not least, the guy who drives the black matte-finish Lotus that looks like the Batmobile but sounds like a jalopy? He left about 15 minutes after the thing started. (Dude, if you want to be stealth, you've got the wrong car.)

Pinko Slips:  Communists were distributing literature at the gate under the vague guise of being WGA helpers, but one wag who managed to duck the handout quipped, "Oh God, the Scientologists are everywhere!"

Local Color:  Saw an actual Shrine Auditorium Shriner in an actual rhinestone-studded red fez. I truly believed they were mythical creatures. I would have been less surprised by a unicorn.

Disavow Any Knowledge...  Finally, just to resolve the raging debate, I can report that as of tonight, How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas are officially taking back what they wrote about the coat-check girl being the mother. "No, she's not," Carter told me. "We wrote that during the strike. Actually, we didn't write that at all. A scab wrote that."

It's getting to be bedtime out here, so I'm signing off, but check back Sunday and Monday for more dish from the Shrine, including scoop on Scrubs, Friday Night Lights, Battlestar and Burn Notice!

—With reporting by Jennifer Godwin

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