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Writer's Guild Goes on Strike (and Guess Whose Side We're On)

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 5, 2007 4:33PM

Well, it's finally happened: the Writer's Guild of America declared a strike early this morning after midnight negotiations stalled. Naturally there's been plenty of finger-pointing, with writers claiming that the producers broke off talks while producers say that the writers were the ones who walked out.

2007_11writerstrike.jpg Regardless, the strike will have some very immediate effects, which the Trib has handily put in chart form. Daily shows will suffer the most at first, with programs like "The Daily Show," "The Tonight Show" and Letterman going into reruns immediately. "Oprah" too. Soap operas would soon follow suit. Most reality shows will air as planned since, like other fictional recorded series (gasp!), they tend to be shot far in advance of the air date.

The New York Times summarizes the the main reason for the strike nicely: writers want increased residuals from DVD and internet sales. The life of a writer ain't always bread and roses (you can take our word for it). Unlike the Hollywood media conglomerates, whose money is just beginning to come in when a movie ends its theatrical run or a TV series airs for the first time, the only substantial income a writer gets is pretty much upfront. As WGAW President Patric M. Veronne puts it, "The companies are seeking to take advantage of new technology to drastically reduce the residual income that sustains middle class writers and keeps them in the business. Their proposals would destroy the very pool of creative talent that is the basis of their immense revenues and profits."

It's anyone's guess how long the strike will last. The 1988 strike went on for 22 weeks; if this one goes on for that long it could mean $1 billion in economic losses. Umm, ouch.

image via AP