Strike yields mixed results for Hollywood writers

Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:53am EST
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By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Figuring the winners and losers in the aftermath of the writers' tentative contract deal is a complex calculation. Writers themselves fall in both categories.

Having missed paychecks for more than three months means many scribes will see their pay raises and residual gains as mere means of playing catch-up in their household income. But those who found themselves between projects when the strike began November 5 are sitting pretty going forward, as first-time residual gains in new media will put them on a better track to compensate for any loss of income caused by diminishing revenue from TV reruns and DVD.

Similarly, though management seems to have avoided giving away the store, the studios clearly have taken a hit. Many strike-halted TV shows were money losers anyway, but the cancellation of pilot production is a huge headache for studio producers and broadcast networks.

Elsewhere, the scores of production crews and others put out of work by the strike will be hard-pressed to find a silver lining in the scribes' contract gains. And many nonentertainment businesses in the region -- from caterers to limo firms -- have had their bottom lines tugged a bit by the protracted labor strife.

After a proposed contract settlement was endorsed on Sunday by the governing bodies of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), rank-and-file members will vote on Tuesday whether to end the strike. Formal approval of the contract, which hinged on new payments to writers for work distributed over the Internet, is being conducted through a lengthier ratification process that normally takes up to two weeks.


As for individual personalities in the WGA negotiations, many notched points in both the win and loss columns, and history will fill in their ultimate scorecards. Yet short-term reputations clearly have been either burnished or tarnished by the torturous talks, fairly or otherwise.

To wit:   Continued...

<p>A picket sign from the Writers Guild of America in Burbank, California January 2, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>