Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Meanwhile, Back at the Strike ...

So let's look in on the writers, shall we?

Things have been pretty quiet for the past month. The major corporations delivered their non-negotiable demands, walked away from the table, sent out a press release that it is all the writers' fault, and have refused to meet since.

I know you're expecting a punchline. There isn't one. That's pretty much what happened.

Yeah, you'd expect the UNION to come up with non-negotiables, but it is the management that is holding firm and demanding the Writers give up concessions before they will even THINK of coming back to the table.

This is of a bit of concern in Hollywood, where the city council held a meeting on the impact of the strike. Management blew them off as well.

Now, things ARE happening. While they can't get Leno and Conan and Stewart and Colbert back as WRITERS, they CAN get them back as PERFORMERS. So the late night shows will be back on the air, primarily to plug the latest dollops of popcult excreted from the entertainment mills. Yeah, that's going to go down well with the talent. I expect Colbert to show up on his first day in chains.

Now as performers these guys have a contractual obligation to show up, and the media gets to play it as "life gets back to normal despite those silly writers." But there is a fly in the ointment, a fly named Letterman.

Letterman has his own production company (unlike Leno and the rest, who are employees of their various operations). And he cut a deal. He said "Yeah", as in "Yeah, I agree to the Writer's Guild points, and will abide by them, and when this is all over, I'll join with whatever deal is going on". So he gets his writers. He also gets Robin Williams as his first guest. Leno? He's getting Huckabee. Good luck with that.

So this gets spun (as everything does) as how this is going to break the WGA, because a handful of guys get to go back while the others are stuck on the picket lines. Actually, it seems to be having more effect on the Bigs, as Letterman's operation gets Most Favored status and a podium on which Letterman can relentlessly pound away at the corporate masters (a favorite sport of his). So instead of keeping the strike relatively quiet ("Nothing to see here, move along"), it will get a higher visibility.

And it puts the other talk show hosts in a bind as well - don't talk about the strike and be corporate suckups, or talk about it and displease the corporate masters. This ought to be fun.

But in the meantime, enjoy the comic stylings of Woody Allen drinking tea.

More later,