Less than a week after E! President Suzanne Kolb told striking writers on Fashion Police that their guild is the real enemy, the WGA has organized a rally in support of the picketers. In an email to members today, the guild said the action is set for 11:30 AM-12:30 PM Thursday at E!’s headquarters on LA’s Miracle Mile. Writers on the series hosted by fellow WGA member Joan Rivers went on strike in April claiming E! owes them more than $1M in back wages.
The election the Company is calling for is a well-known stalling tactic. By ignoring for weeks our repeated requests for negotiation of a fair deal, E! has forced us to vote with our feet. The best way our fellow Guild member Joan Rivers can show us her support is by putting down her pen until a WGA contract is in place.
UPDATE 1:20 PM: E! is reacting to this morning’s move by the writers on the cable network’s popular series Fashion Police to walk off the job in a quest for WGA representation. In an internal memo to E! staff, the network’s president Suzanne Kolb said E! brass are “disappointed” by the action and ready to sit down immediately for negotiations with WGA representatives. (full memo below). Meanwhile, Fashion Police co-host Joan Rivers, whose company co-produces the series with E!, “has gone on record repeatedly that she supports the Fashion Police writers and wants a fair agreement for them,” E! said.
The new collective bargaining agreement takes effect Saturday and runs through April 2016, replacing the previous deal that was set to expire Friday. The WGA‘s East and West branches voted 159-31 to accept the new terms, which include wages …
Like the Producers Guild earlier this week, the WGA did not produce a list of film nominees in the Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay categories that had any surprises. This in itself is not surprising since the WGA (I’m a member) — due to restrictive rules regarding eligibility of films only produced under the guild’s MBA or certain international affiliated collective bargaining agreements — had far less of a field from which to choose. The number of screenplays eligible overall is slightly more than a third of all scripts the Academy’s much smaller voting body is picking from (polls for Oscar nomination voting close today at 5 PM). As usual, we can look for several differences when the Academy reveals their writing nominations January 10th. Although nominees often vary between the two orgs, the final winners are usually much more in sync. Last year, both WGA Award-winning scripts — Midnight In Paris and The Descendants – went on to repeat at the Oscars. In 2010 though, only WGA Adapted Screenplay winner The Social Network repeated at Oscar time, while the Oscar winner for Original Screenplay, The King’s Speech, wasn’t even nominated at the WGA because it was ineligible.
Related: WGA Awards Nominations Announced
UPDATE, 6:42 PM: Comedy Central has issued a response to the “stop working” email from the WGA sent out earlier today. “We’re continuing to move forward on our negotiations with the Writers Guild and are hopeful that we’ll come to an agreement soon,” they told Deadline.
PREVIOUSLY, 5:53 PM: The Writers Guild today sent out an email telling its members that they are not to work for “uncovered” Comedy Productions shows. The company is the production arm of Comedy Central. The WGA West says that the company is not a signatory to the Guild agreement despite the claim that Central Productions has been telling people it is. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report do have contracts with the WGA East and are not a part of this action. Deadline is told that only a handful of Comedy Central shows do not have full agreement with the WGA so any work stoppage would be limited. The WGA’s email today comes as the company and the Guild are in the middle of negotiations on a comprehensive contract. Read the WGA email below:
Dear Writers Guild Member,
We are writing to alert you that you must refrain from writing for Central Productions, the production arm of Comedy Central, without first contacting the WGAW contracts department (323-782-4501) to ensure that the writing is Guild-covered. If you are currently writing on a Central Productions project, please contact us immediately. Central Productions is not signatory to the MBA, and if there is no Guild contract in place specifically for the project you are working on, you are now required under Working Rule 8 to stop writing.
The Walking Dead’s executive producer and writer Glen Mazarra moderated the evening. Although the popular AMC zombie show received a few 2012 Creative Arts Emmy nominations, it was dramatically overlooked this year when the primetime nods came out. …
Writers Joseph Balsamo and Peter Ciancarelli say the network ripped off The League from their The Commissioner. In a nine-page civil complaint (read it here) filed last week in New York, the pair claim FX and League co-creator-executive producer Jeff Schaffer, also named as a defendant, lifted significant elements of the duo’s series about a group of friends who form a fantasy football league. “Given the numerous and striking similarities between the two works, there can be no dispute that defendants Schaffer and/or FX had access to and copied protectable elements of the treatment,” the suit says. The suit then outlined 10 similarities between the two works. The plaintiffs filed Commissioner with the WGA back in 2006 and put the script online soon afterwards in an effort to attract attention. The League, created by Schaffer and wife Jackie Marcus Schaffer (who is not named as a defendant), has been on FX since October 2009.
Los Angeles and New York – From its beginnings in the 1940s through present day, American television has been shaped by the words and stories of writers. In recognition of the role of writing in sustaining this extraordinary medium, the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) are launching 101 Best Written TV Series, the WGA’s list of outstanding television writing. Writers will be able to vote for their choices beginning on May 15, and results will be announced in the fall. The “101 TV” list will celebrate the craft of television writing over seven decades and follows the WGA’s 101 Greatest Screenplays list announced in 2006.
It was a very funny, sometimes touching, but mostly uproarious tribute Sunday afternoon at the Writers Guild Theatre in Beverly Hills. The WGA West and the Writers Guild Foundation along with the Kanter family held a well produced and attended memorial for one of their most illustrious members, Hal Kanter, who passed away in November at age 92. The three-time Emmy winner (and seven time nominee) was also believed to be the only person ever to win all three of the Guild’s prestigious special honors – the Morgan Cox award for service to the WGA, the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award, the Valentine Davies Award.
And why not? As was very evident from this memorial, Kanter was one of the most versatile and productive comedy writers ever. He belonged to a golden era when that was possible. It’s hard to imagine a young writer today forging the same kind of long-lasting career Kanter, and others in his generation, were able to have over the course of seven decades in the business. Writing is tough and unforgiving – and most of its practitioners, particularly in television, are used up and tossed out after several years. It was clear from all the clips and personal anecdotes that the show business Kanter loved and lived in doesn’t exist anymore. Writers who want that kind of longevity in a career probably will have to try another profession. But keeping relevant was never a problem for Hal Kanter who it was noted was still preparing to write another screenplay, even in his 90s. He was also a producer, director, raconteur, master of ceremonies, playwright, author and all around wit. As Kanter said in a clip from one of his many appearances at a WGA awards show banquet, “I was born with a compulsion to amuse. And if my work has inspired anyone to become a comedy writer, I apologize.”
UPDATE, 5:56 PM: Original Prods in a statement this afternoon has countered claims that the company was stingy when it came to benefits and worker safety on the show. “Original Productions has always offered competitive wages and excellent working conditions,” it read. “It is the reason Original Productions attracts the kind of talent that has been successfully developed into award-winning crafts people with impeccable industry reputations. Additionally, Original Productions follows a strict Injury/Illness Prevention Program policy for all of its productions with healthy and safe working conditions as a priority for all production crews.”
The statement said neither IATSE or the Teamsters have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for certification and that for now “it is the company’s position that it is not obligated to recognize these two unions as bargaining representatives.”
PREVIOUS, 1:01 PM: About 100 people turned up outside the Burbank compound of 1000 Ways To Die producer Original Productions on a chilly Monday morning. Sympathizers including reps from WGA West as well as SAG and AFTRA joined the picket line, which got underway at 8:30 AM, chanting their call for a union contract for the Spike TV show. Today’s action comes after Original fired two-dozen workers after they voted to seek union representation; production has been stopped for more than a week, and Friday the unions called for a strike. “This is a successful television series and this company refuses to work with unions,” Steve Dayan, an organizer at Teamsters Local 399, told Deadline in front of the well-barricaded Original facility. “This company is non-union for all the unions — non-SAG, non-AFTRA, non-Teamster, non-DGA. These guys have a successful television series and they’re not willing to pay their crew their benefits.”
‘One Life To Live’ And ‘All My Children’ Won’t Continue Online
The WGAW and AFTRA just issued statements in response to Prospect Park’s decision today not to proceed with its plans to continue to produce …
A Republican effort to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality rules in the Senate was shot down today, two days after President Obama vowed to veto any such override. The regulations are set to take effect on November 20. Senate …
Veteran screenwriter, producer and director Hal Kanter died Sunday of complications of pneumonia in Encino, his daughter Donna Kanter told the Los Angeles Times. He was 92. “He was considered one of the wits of the industry,” said Carl Reiner, upon learning of Kanter’s death. ”He was a funny elder statesman, and there’s nothing better.” In a career that spanned several decades, Kanter worked in radio, TV and movies. He wrote for Bob Hope and Bing Crosby and for Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Kanter directed Elvis Presley in Loving You which he co-wrote and he wrote the screenplaly for Blue Hawaii. He even collaborated with Tennessee Williams on the 1955 movie version of The Rose Tatoo. Among other movie credits were George Cukor’s Let’s Make Love, with Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand and Frank Capra’s Pocketful of Miracles.
His numerous TV credits included creation of the landmark sitcom Julia, for which Diahann Carroll became the first black actress to star in her own sitcom whose character was a professional woman rather than a maid. He also worked briefly on All in the Family and was a writer and produceer on Chico and the Man. His association with the Oscars as a writer on the ceremony began in 1952 when it still on radio and continued for more than 30 years. In 1991 and ’92 he shared Emmys for writing duties on the Oscar show telecast. His other Emmy was for The George Gobel Show.