Writers' Strike

The heat is on.

That's the feeling rippling through this town today after the Directors Guild of America announced it has reached a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. (Get all the deets in our news story.)

But many of you are asking, what does this mean for our favorite shows and the Writers Guild strike? Well, right about now, it means many of the key members have probably broken into a sweat, as all eyes narrow in on the WGA to see if it will accept similar terms to the DGA agreement, which provides some new-media gains but not the full extent requested by the writers.

Adding more fuel to the fire is the fact that we are fast approaching the point of no return for the current 2007-08 TV season. As Pushing Daisies executive producer Bryan Fuller just told us, "If the strike is resolved in the next three weeks, there is a slim chance that shows could come back and produce four or five additional episodes to wrap up their seasons. If it isn't resolved by mid-February, then, yes, that's pretty much it for the 2007-08 season."

But other series may be even closer to calling it quits. Crew members who work on two mainstream, fan-favorite TV shows tell me they were informed this week that it is "extremely unlikely" they will be producing any more episodes this season whether the strike ended soon or not.

According to one below-the-line crew member: "We were told that even if the strike ends soon, we won't be doing any more episodes until next season, because it just won’t work." (These sources requested that their shows not be named.)

According to the statement from the DGA, the new tentative agreement includes:

  • Increases in wages and residual bases for each year of the contract
  • DGA jurisdiction over programs produced for distribution on the Internet
  • A new residuals formula for paid Internet downloads (electronic sell-through) that essentially doubles the rate currently paid by employers.
  • Residual rates for ad-supported streaming and use of clips on the Internet

"Two words describe this agreement—groundbreaking and substantial," Gil Cates, chair of the DGA's Negotiations Committee, said in the announcement. "The gains in this contract for directors and their teams are extraordinary—and there are no rollbacks of any kind."

But will the writers think it's a fair shake? Stand by and cross your fingers the AMPTP will get back to that WGA negotiation table, stat, and something good will come of all this.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the DGA deal and the WGA strike? Do you still support the writers? How long can you wait for your shows to return? Comment below...

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