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December 29 2007

Bid for signed Whedonverse posters. To help fund a sky writing campaign to be seen during the Rose Bowl Parade, fans4writers.com are auctioning off a signed James Marsters poster and a Serenity cast pic signed by Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau and Sean Maher.

My most prized posession is *my* signed Whedonverse poster! (Ebay Item: 260168700230)

Go for it guys! Bid Away! You get to help the writers AND get yourself some shiny in the process!

And just to start a discussion. Where do we come down on Leno, Conan and Letterman coming back this week? Leno and Conan without writers, and Letterman has come up with his own deal, the details of which im not sure. If hes paying them what they deserve, then great! If hes not, then that cant be good. Im confused... coz I loves me some Letterman!
I was wondering the same thing about the late night shows. Especially since Jay Leno seemed to be such a big supporter of the writers, bringing food to the picket line and all.
All those guys support the writers, Lettermen has done what Johnny Carson did back in the 80's strike. You can bet the have made a good deal or the writers would not be going back. Letterman, himself, a writer knows and understands what needs to be done for a fair deal and I have no doubt they made it.

We knew going in that eventually the network & cable (Stewart & Colbert are also returning without their writers) late night guys would have to return, however, unwillingly as it is for them, they either had to return or stand the chance of being permantently replaced and sue for 7 figures or more for breaching their contract. Either way it would cost a lot of people their jobs and benefits if that had happened.

The good thing is you will have some pissed off host (who are also writers) and without their normal group of writers, who knows what they will say about the situtation. Anyone remember the beginning of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" pilot. It might be something like that. :)

I almost feel sorry for the networks ... ok not really ... because they may deserve what they get. By letting loose these guys without writers gives them the ability to really say what is on their mind without going through studio censors.

They have held out for as long as possible and now with the agreement Letterman's company reached. It may force the hands of NBC and ABC to perhaps take action. So horray for team letterman and let's hope others will shortly follow his lead.

[ edited by RavenU on 2007-12-29 16:19 ]
So what's the point with the skywriting campaign? What is it trying to accomplish and why do they think this will work?
You can bet they have made a good deal or the writers would not be going back.

I guess my point revolves around the fact that this 'one' entity (Worldwide Pants) has gone on its own against a united front (the writers) and made *some* sort of individualised deal. Does this sit well? Or should they have been more receptive to the needs of the 'whole'?

Its great for the writers of Letterman, they get money (and a means by which to support their families). But does this undermine the needs of the other writers out there?

I dont know, myself. Im not that smart. Im opening it up for discussion to find out if I should be happy or sad. :D
Iowagirl, from what I understand, and I am not one of the fans4writers crew, so I may be off on some details, this is the idea. The Rose Bowl is watched by millions of people on TV, to say nothing of the many actually in the stadium. This is an opportunity to make a BIG statement about the strike, and the fans' support of the writers. What will actually be "sky typed" is a secret, for maximum impact on the day.
There is more information here.
iowagirl wrote; So what's the point with the skywriting campaign? What is it trying to accomplish and why do they think this will work?

Simply, to get the word out about fans4writers and what we are doing to support the writers. Also because it is a unique concept to get the word out to millions of people at one time.

It will be seen by 1-2 million people on the ground watching the parade and there is a chance it will get some media attention as well. The skywriter is only promoting 1 other client at this event. So we will have approximately 30 minutes in the air for our message to be seen by millions of people (not including the people who are not at the parade who will still be able to see the message in the sky). With this one event we will be seen by more people than 1 ad in a national or trade paper. Since the people watching the parade and the parade itself will be representing people from all over the USA of High School and College age kids and their families we will be hitting a key demo that we need our message to get too. This is a way to get some attention from people who normally would never hear more than a 30 second blip on the news if they live outside of LA or NYC.

Oh and it's pretty cool. Who doesn't check out skywriting when they see it live? Just te act of writing it makes quite the impact on the people seeing it.
Beren77 wrote; I guess my point revolves around the fact that this 'one' entity (Worldwide Pants) has gone on its own against a united front (the writers) and made *some* sort of individualised deal. Does this sit well? Or should they have been more receptive to the needs of the 'whole'?

Ok I see what you mean but rest assured, Worldwide pants did not make a deal with it's writing staff. The deal was made with the WGA, which represents all the writers in the union. Worldwide Pants actually broke ranks with the AMPTP and went on it's own to hammer out a deal with the WGA. While the AMPTP was still at the table they couldn't start a negosiation process with the WGA, but once the AMTPT walked from the table the second time the studios then have the right to seek out individual deals with the WGA, which is what Letterman's company did. His company started their own negositation process with the guild within days of the AMPTP leaving the table.
And Craig Ferguson is coming back, too. Poor Craig - he isn't as big a name as the other guys, so he tends to get overlooked. But I prefer him over the others - he's witty, original, doesn't embarrass his guests and doesn't tend to do stupid "stunts" like velcroing himself to a wall or getting into a vat of eggnog. (What a waste of good nog.) And his skits are more in keeping with Carson's. Plus, he's good friends with Anthony Stewart Head.

But I digress.

I really wish these fund-raisers would give folks a bit more notice - there are those of us, believe it or not, who do not have a credit card and/or a PayPal account who would like to show our support (Even if it's just a measly five dollars) but would need time for a check or money order to reach the place it's needed.
So *who* exactly is paying these great writers now that this deal has been made? Is Worldwide Pants paying the writers of Letterman, or is CBS? And is this the same, or different, than before the strike?

If Letterman (and therefor Worldwide Pants) is/are dipping into their own money to pay for these writers to continue their work... isnt that really unfair on them? I mean, kudos to them big time... but thats not something that can continue indefinately, is it?
Shadow Quest - You do not have to have a paypal account. If you wish to send a check or money order instead we will be posting an address tonight. This whole thing was short notice, we had a very lovely lady agree to upfront the cost of the advertising and she put it on her credit card. We will be raising money to pay her back through the middle of January, when her bill comes. Our hope is to raise enough money to cover the cost of the ad before her hubby takes her card away and ships her to a looney bin.

Beren77 wrote; So *who* exactly is paying these great writers now that this deal has been made? Is Worldwide Pants paying the writers of Letterman, or is CBS? And is this the same, or different, than before the strike?

If Letterman (and therefor Worldwide Pants) is/are dipping into their own money to pay for these writers to continue their work... isnt that really unfair on them? I mean, kudos to them big time... but thats not something that can continue indefinately, is it?


Worldwide Pants has always been the one paying it's employees, CBS pays Worldwide Pants to air the show. It is the same, the various production companies pay the people that work for them, then the network buys and agrees to pay the show for airing it. Letterman made the deal with CBS when he moved from NBC that it would be produced and controlled by his own company, similar to the deal Johnny Carson had with NBC in '88. When Carson left the Tonight Show, the ownership of the show was bought by NBC Productions, which produces the show and sells it to it's sister company NBC Television Network.
Ok RavenU, thankyou for this fantastic information.

Sorry to harp on... but things still intruige me!

If Worldwide Pants has always been in control of what it pays its employees, why is it just this week that it has decided to pay them this 'increased' amount? Did CBS set a benchmark for what to pay writers? Or did Worldwide Pants set its own values on what a writer is worth? And, if so, is Worldwide pants also guilty of underpaying its writers, and is therefor the first group to 'bow' to the demands of the strike?

I hope the 'crux' of my query makes sence.

[ edited by Beren77 on 2007-12-29 18:36 ]
Beren77 - these are good questions, and they do make sense. I don't pretend to be an expert, but from what I've read Letterman and World Wide Pants had continued to pay his writers under the old contract for not working. If as RavenU said, the new deal was worked out with WGA, then it is obviously one that is in the writer's favor. I would guess that there is a clause that if the AMPTP and the WGA reach an even better deal that the writers will retroactively benefit from it.

Personally I kind of wish that the late night folks were not coming back with new shows in order to keep up the pressure on the AMPTP. As the amount of new shows dwindles and reruns are taking over, the average viewer who doesn't follow the strike is getting more and more tired of what they're being offered. At least that is what I hear from conversations with people who are confused about getting old reruns all of the time.
On the Late Show thing, it's also intriguing that the SAG statement implies, but doesn't state, that SAG members might steer themselves towards Dave and away from Jay and Conan. And the Late Show writers have already said "you better believe we're going to bring attention to the strike as long as it lasts".
RavenU Ah, thank you. (And I apologize publicly for past bad blood between us. As I'm sure you're aware, my con tanked before it was even announced.)

I'm going to post the link to the actual auction over on Bronze:Beta - that's as much as I'm able to do, as I just got my electric bill. Ouch. Rather cancels out the homestead refund I just got.
Kyrax - That is SO true about the state of television during the writers strike. Lots of people I know, who know NOTHING of the strike, are asking me (because they know I am obsessed with various TV shows) how come there has been no new torrents to download in the last 2 months (as me, and my friends are in Australia, thats the only way to get new eps of things like Scrubs, How I met your Mother and The Office). Im sure people in America are like... Wha?? Wheres my Desperate Housewives (or substitute another crap show there :P ). Hopefully this lack of entertainment will eventually translate to a) a wider knowledge among the public of the strike and b) a complete white flag from the networks. :D
Hopefully this lack of entertainment will eventually translate to a) a wider knowledge among the public of the strike

It might help that some of their favorite people might end up with shows on Strike TV come February sweeps. ("Why watch regular TV when you can watch Strike TV?")
At this point most people know about the strike, but not very many people seem to know what it's all about. I think the most effective sky-writing message would be something that addresses this somehow.
May I ask why the writers strike is involved in this topic? Just curious.
Madhatter Umm...'cause...that's what the auction is for - fans4writers is going to hire a skywriter to have a message about the strike/supporting the WGA written in the sky over the Rose Bowl Parade.

That's what it's all about, Alfie.
Beren77, the month of December, particularly the last couple of weeks, is always dry of new episodes of TV shows, because of the holidays. So I'm a little surprised that people are even noticing a difference from past years right now. And the networks are advertising new shows beginning in January, so, aside from the absence of the late night folk, I could see that the average person might not know much if anything about the writers' strike. (I know that I have mentioned the strike to some people and they have not noticed any difference from previous years, if they don't watch late night TV.) This is why this Rose Bowl Parade activity might do even more to publicize the strike.

It will be interesting, though, to hear what Letterman, Stewart, Colbert, etc. say when they come back. And it will also be interesting to see what adaptations they make to their programs (I'm thinking of Stewart and Colbert, in particular, whose shows are so heavily scripted and timed accordingly). The formats are undoubtedly going to change somewhat, and it will be interesting to see what happens. More spontaneity, in any case. However, since their shows are taped, there will still be the possibility of network editing/interference if they go too far, I would guess.
Wow - just looked again at the bidding and we're really pushing up those auctions. My valiant offer to help isn't even a significant fraction of the current one. Go people Go!
Deadline Hollywood Daily reports onFans4Writers SkyTyping campaign.

And regarding Colbert returning without his writers, he does his show completely as a satirical character, and his contract states that during the strike he won't be able to do that. So what is he going to do? If he does his show as himself, I wonder how many don't realize the show is a satire, and will be confused by the Stephen Colbert that returns. It's going to be an interesting week, that's for certain. I'm setting my VCR.
Wow, that's interesting info about Colbert, esg. I'll be setting my VCR, as well.
Per my understanding of an article in Daily Variety, Worldwide Pants, which produces both The Late Show With David Letterman and the Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, made a deal with the WGA agreeing to the proposal the WGA currently has on the table. It's unlikely that the Letterman and Ferguson writers will eventually receive a *better* deal under whatever industry-wide contract is eventually reached, only because I really cannot imagine that the WGA is going to come back to negotiations and ask for more than the current proposal. I am heroically resisting making puns about Worldwide Pants and deep pockets here (well, not that heroically, I just alluded to it), but what this means for Worldwide Pants is that if the eventual industry-wide deal is *not* as good as the current industry-wide proposal, Worldwide Pants will have to pay the difference out of its own (don't say pockets, don't say pockets) funds. This brings us back to the 2.5 percent of nothing is nothing issue -- if they don't sell anything on the Internet, they won't incur the residuals, and if they do, the production company still gets 97.5 percent of any profits. I believe this deal actually works for the WGA, because a large and recognizable production company has deemed the WGA proposals reasonable and has agreed to them. The AMPTP can't say "nobody would agree to this" -- somebody did, and Letterman is a fairly prominent somebody, at that.

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