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This "blog" or "webblog" or "internetwebblog" or "interwebblognetwebblog" will feature the thoughts and observations of Late Show writers Eric Stangel, Justin Stangel, Bill Scheft, Steve Young, Matt Roberts, Tom Ruprecht, Jeremy Weiner, Lee Ellenberg, Joe Grossman and Bob Borden regarding the current writers strike.

There is a lot at stake with this strike and these are serious issues. The Late Show writers are on the picket lines every day they are scheduled. We are not making light of this situation. One way to get people to pay attention to the strike and its issues is through humor.
Best,
THE LATE SHOW WRITERS

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The rumors are true!!
I'm sure everyone has heard by now- the story is already out there. Wherever I go people ask me about it- so we thought we might as well put it up here. This should dispel any rumors...

-Eric Stangel

'Late Show with David Letterman' Purchases SSL C200 Console

Mar 28, 2008 2:15 PM

The Late Show with David Letterman on CBS purchased a Solid State Logic C296 Digital Production Console, which represents the company's largest C200 Series console. The new console will handle all of the music production requirements for the show and will be installed in the Ed Sullivan Theater this summer, replacing the SSL analog SL 4000 G Series console that has served the show for 15 years.

“With our new format of shooting in HD and mixing in 5.1 surround, the clear choice for a new console was the SSL C296,” says Harvey Goldberg, who has been the Late Show's music mixer for the last eight years. “Another reason why we purchased the console was that it delivers the resources necessary for us to mix different music acts during the show, or if not multiple acts, the different songs performed by one act. Working on an analog console isn’t the fastest way to switch between different kinds of set-ups. When we start working with the C296, switching between set-ups will be a push of a button.”

The 96-fader frame console suits Goldberg’s work style. According to Goldberg, where many other manufacturers have made the leap to digital by redesigning how a console operates, Goldberg prefers the ergonomic consistency of SSL consoles.

“SSL has always presented consoles with an industry-standard work surface familiar to the top engineers in the world, and the C200 Series carries on that tradition,” Goldberg explains. “Right now, I am training on the C200 and I have developed a plan to take advantage of its power. I will use 40 of the input channels right off the top for Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra. The average guest band comes in using between 30 and 40 inputs. Perhaps a rock band will only take up 24. Sometimes we are talking about shooting two or three shows in a day and that represents a lot of setup. The advantage of the C200 is that I can work in the traditional analog mode of one channel strip per instrument or vocal, but when I need to see a channel at the other end of the board, I can push a button and it is in front of me. This feature will make mixing easier, better, faster.

“The most important feature of all is, of course, the sound of the console," Goldberg continues. "SSL has built their great sound into the C200. Having the power to recall setups, mix in surround, flip-flop fader banks and the like may improve workflow, but the C200 offers a sound that is comfortable with any type of music. This gives me a strong sonic foundation for any style of music and from there I can use the fantastic EQ and dynamics on the console to further shape the best sound for each group.

“Keep in mind that the variety of music that goes on this show is wider than any other show on TV,” Goldberg concludes. “For instance, we can do John Fogerty on Monday, the Metropolitan Opera on Tuesday, Snoop Dogg on Wednesday, Dolly Parton on Thursday and then the Foo Fighters on Friday. That’s how dramatically different the music can be. It really goes from one end of the spectrum to the other. We are anxiously awaiting the installation of the C200.”

For more information visit www.solid-state-logic.com andwww.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow.
 
Find this article at:
http://www.mixonline.com/news/headline/ssl_c200_lateshow_2803/index.html
 
7:56 pm edt

Friday, March 14, 2008

BREAKING NEWS!

 JOINT AMPTP/EMPEROR’S CLUB V.I.P. STATEMENT

After three days of very productive negotiations, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and Emperor’s Club V.I.P have come to terms on a new, three-year contract.

The agreement between the AMPTP and Emperors Club V.I.P. establishes an important precedent: prostitutes will now receive a percentage of profits generated from online streaming of illicit sex acts. The agreement demonstrates beyond any doubt that our industry's producers are willing and able to work with the purveyors of flesh to establish fair and flexible rules for this emerging marketplace.

-Jeremy Weiner [ with additional reporting by Eliot Spitzer]

10:41 am edt

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Comedy Writer Gives Thanks
by Steve Young
 
It would have been very frustrating to still be on strike when this Eliot Spitzer story hit.  It's not quite Dick Cheney shooting an old guy in the face, but it's close.  Thanks, Governor!   
9:39 am edt

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

LATE SHOW WRITERS OVERWHELMINGLY RATIFY BOB BORDEN ENGAGEMENT!

Toldja! LateShowWritersOnStrike.com has learned that the popular late night show scribblers have voted to approve Bob Borden's engagment to Cara (Last name withheld). The secret ballots were tallied by Late Show Strike Captain Bill Scheft early Tuesday morning at the Crowne Plaza in Midtown Manhattan. A chest-puffing 90 percent of the writers registered a full-throated "Yes!" to their beloved colleague's engagement. There was one abstention. Joe?

4:46 pm est

Monday, March 3, 2008

BOB BORDEN NEWS- BREAKING!!!

Sorry ladies, Late Show with David Letterman writer and former mailroom boy Bob Borden is off the market. According to tipsters in the Sedona, Arizona area Bob asked the lovely Cara (last name withheld) to marry him and she said yes.

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(Bob seen here with Joe Grossman)

No date has been announced.

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(Cara Last Name Withheld seen here without Joe Grossman)

Congratulations Bob. Must Be Nice! 

11:56 am est

Thursday, February 28, 2008

End of strike announcement
9:18 am est

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A New Direction For Lateshowwritersonstrike.com
by Steve Young
With the strike over and the new Writers Guild contract ratified, we here at lateshowwritersonstrike.com are faced with a dilemma.  What kind of website do we want now that our original concept is obsolete?  We've had a lot of fun with the site and we'd hate to lose this creative outlet.  Clearly, it needs to evolve.  After much discussion, we think we've got the the new theme that will carry us through the rest of 2008 and beyond.
Very soon, look for our focus to shift completely to the massive beef recall.  We believe our fans will enjoy our satiric takes on the USDA's largest-ever recall of 143 million pounds of possibly tainted beef.  We're confident that we'll still get plenty of plugs from Nikki Finke and other top news and entertainment outlets as we spoof the deliberations of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer and his staff, post fake press releases from Steve Mendell, president of Hallmark Meat Packing and its distributor, Westland, present the lighter side of regulations pertaining to downer cattle entering the food chain, and much, much more.
You can still visit us here, but shortly all the hilarity will be taking place at lateshowwritersdiscussthemassivebeefrecall.com.  Bookmark it now!

8:45 pm est

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Thanks a lot jerks!!

Listen up- my Academy Awards party was not canceled. That was a stupid rumor. The only person who bothered to show up was Cuba Gooding Jr and you can imagine how that went. Thanks for the support, jerks. Don't count on getting an invitation next year.

Eric Stangel

PS Oh, and we had onion dip and everything. 

10:38 pm est

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

AIR OF RESIGNATION?
BY BILL SCHEFT
 
So, all of sudden, Fidel Castro decides he's not interested in dictating anymore? If it all seems a little too convenient, it is. LateShowWritersOnStrike has learned that El Presidente was shown the El Evator after he gave away the store in the latest contract negotiations with Los Scriptos Guild de Cubana. Castro's normally loyal henchman were shocked at the generous concessions the once ruthless despot doled out in every phase of the Cuban New Media, including wireless, telex, telecopiers, victrolas and princess phones.
 
We salute our union brethren 92 miles south of Florida. Fair deal, si!
10:06 am est

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Today's Top One List

by Steve Young

Signs A Nintendo Wii Owner Has Been Reading Too Much deadlinehollywooddaily.com

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webassets/nikki.jpg
NikkiFinke's current high score in bowling is 206.

7:00 pm est

Sunday, February 17, 2008

TOLDJA!! Kosovo declares independence from Serbia

As reported here last week after talking with my sources in the now disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army, Kosovo's parliament officially declared the disputed territory a nation on Sunday, mounting a historic bid to become an "independent and democratic state" backed by the U.S. and European allies but bitterly contested by Serbia and Russia.

Kosovo will still be having upfronts, but the date is to be determined

-Eric Stangel 

2:38 pm est

Friday, February 15, 2008

Bonus Material!!!!!!!!!!

IN the next few days we'll be offering some quality LateShowWritersOnStrike.com material that we didn't get a chance to post. Some might seem dated, but hey it's free!

BILL SCHEFT'S STRIKE-RELATED DAVE-TYPE MONOLOGUE JOKE OF THE DAY:
 
I don't know if this has anything to do with the writers strike or the stagehands strike, but the Knicks are running a weird promotion this Friday at Madison Square Garden. "Scab Appreciation Night."

And then there's this!

Everybody in New York City is doing their part to show support for the writers. I took a cab today, and I was pretty sure my driver hadn't showered since November 4.

Both by Bill Scheft. The strike's over, but he will forever be the Late Show Strike Captain

The blog will continue...

4:58 pm est

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Proxy Voting Fine Print--Trouble Ahead?
by Steve Young
 
I voted by proxy today in the vote on whether or not to end the strike.  Only after I'd filled out and sent my proxy off with Strike Captain Bill Scheft did I take a close look at the fine print.  What I read disturbed me:
 
PROXY-- In accordance with the Constitution and By-Laws, Article VII, Sec. 4(c): “Any member having a right to vote at a meeting pursuant to the provisions of this Section, who is absent from such meeting may vote by giving a written proxy to any other member who is entitled to vote and who will be present at such meeting, provided that a proxy may only be given to be voted at a particular meeting, the date of which is to be specified in such proxy. Any proxy purporting to authorize its holder to vote at more than one meeting is null and void.  By submitting a proxy vote, member agrees that WGA East President Michael Winship may at his discretion make love to their spouse or significant other, at a time and place deemed convenient by Guild leadership.”
 
Oh well, at least the strike might be over soon.
11:36 pm est

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Meeting Summary

By Late Show Strike Captain Bill Scheft

I have been waiting to write this report for about 95 days. Saturday afternoon, I had the honor of attending the WGAE membership meeting, where we were presented with the terms of our tentative agreement with the AMPTP. The meeting was held in the Broadway Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel and there wasn't an open seat in the house. 800-1000 people. This is significant, but many of the Late Show writers were in the same location on the evening of Day 3. Only that time, there were maybe 200 people in the ballroom and we faced a dais made up of members of the negotiating committee, who spent an uncomfortable two hours defending their decision to call a strike and trying to convince us that they had at most a plan and at least a clue.
 
Same hotel, same ballroom, same people on the dais. But this time, they were not defensive. They were confident, proud and yet realistic. They presented the deal points to us unabashedly and spoke of what we gained and what we lost, as is the very nature of a serious labor negotiation, something this had not been until two weeks ago. They did not, as some members believed would happen, ram the deal down our throats. But they were frank. This was clearly a limited offer by the producers, and they believed our leverage (the Oscars, the rest of the current TV season, the end of the pilot season) was never stronger. To continue the strike to get a better deal without leverage until the SAG contract was up June 30 was risky, even reckless. No, the deal wasn't perfect, but as WGAE President Michael Winship misquoted Bill Clinton (it's actually Voltaire) "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good."
 
Many people had reservations and concerns about actual language and numbers. They were not shouted down. Their questions were answered respectfully. In many instances (like about the notion of sympathy strikes) people needed to be educated (like the fact that sympathy strikes no longer exist). But the majority of people who got up behind the three microphones set up in the ballroom did so to express their gratitude and admiration for what had been won.
 
An informal poll was taken over whether or not to abide by the recommendation of the executive board and negotiating committee and end the strike Monday or wait 48 hours for a vote of the membership. Overwhelmingly, members want to end the strike and go back to work Monday. (Out West, they decided to wait 48 hours. So, it looks like Wednesday.
If you had 100 days in the strike pool, congratulations!!! Collect at your local Writers Guild office, or any participating AutoZone....)
 
Since I stopped gambling 12 and a half years ago, I am no longer a numbers guy. I never cared about the specifics of the new contract. All I wanted was a system in place for a piece of New Media profits that could grow as the technology grew. Not something as in the past, the producers either ignored, stalled or equivocated away. As negotiating committee member Melissa Salmons (one of the unsung heroes in securing the interim agreement that allowed the Late Show writers to return January 2) said, "I lived in dread that the hated DVD formula (4 cents for every $29 DVD) would follow us my whole life. No more. This is a deal with movement in it."
 
I'll be honest. I was shocked. I went to the Crowne Plaza (accompanied by Thurber Award winner Alan Zweibel) pit of my stomach petrified that I would be in for five hours of rancor broken up by fits of righteous victimization. But it was just under three hours. Not one chair thrown. No scalding coffee in anyone's eyes. And we call ourselves a union?
 
Yes, we do. Ten minutes into the meeting, Terry George, the negotiating committee's bare knuckles Irishman, crystallized the journey that began as a Quixotic venture eight months ago and 98 days ago became a historic pursuit. "With this deal, we have defeated a tradition of rollbacks that began with the air traffic controllers." That was all I needed to hear about how far we had come.
 
I am a writer, which means my very nature is to be a self-obsessed isolator whose most free exchanges are among the voices in my head. If this is indeed over, the end is even more humbling than the hours spent walking in circles toward it. The best definition of success I ever heard was service plus faith. By our actions and the belief in our actions, we have taken care of ourselves and the generations of self-obsessed isolators who will follow us.
 
Enough. Grateful.    

3:29 pm est

EXCLUSIVE REPORT: WHAT HAPPENED AT SATURDAY'S WGAE MEETING AT THE CROWNE PLAZA

by Steve Young

Just as at the November meeting, they had those hard candies with the jelly centers.  I especially enjoyed the pineapple flavor.  Ice water was also available.

more to come... 

1:57 pm est

Reuters breaks down deal points
FACTBOX: Provisions of screenwriters' labor deal
Sat Feb 9, 2008 9:21pm EST
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The following is a summary of key provisions in the tentative contract deal between the Writers Guild of America and major studios, stipulating how writers will be paid for work distributed over the Internet.

DIGITAL DOWNLOADS

The pact doubles the rate for reuse fees, or "residuals," paid for TV shows and films sold as Internet downloads, from about 0.3 percent of a distributor's gross revenues to roughly 0.7 percent. But the higher rates would kick in only after the first 50,000 downloads of a film or the first 100,000 downloads of a TV show.

This is essentially the same deal secured by the Directors Guild of America for its members last month. The Writers Guild originally had sought download residuals of 2.5 percent of distributor's gross, about eight times the current rate.

PRIME-TIME TV STREAMING

The deal establishes a new residual fee structure for advertising-supported online streaming of network prime-time television shows.

For a one-hour prime-time drama, the new residual would amount to about $650 per episode for 26 weeks of streaming, or $1,300 for a full year's worth of streaming.

But those fees would only be paid after an initial "promotional" window of up to 24 days of free streaming. A year after the initial window, the residual fee would jump from a fixed sum to 2 percent of distributor's gross revenues.

In the third year of the WGA contract, the favored rate of 2 percent of distributor's gross would kick in immediately after the promotional window ended, rather than a year later.

But the contract contains one further caveat to this benefit. It sets an "imputed" value for the 2 percent residual at a fixed sum of $800 for each 26 weeks of streaming in the first year after the window, unless the network's exclusive license for the show expires before then.

OTHER TV STREAMING

Cable TV shows are excluded from provisions that pay streaming residuals as a percentage of distributors' gross. Instead, writers earn a fixed sum, similar to those established for the first year of streaming broadcast network series.

But ad-supported streaming of "library" shows produced after 1977 are payable at 2 percent of distributor's gross receipts.

A union summary of the proposal did not clearly define what constitutes a "library" show.

MADE-FOR-INTERNET JURISDICTION

The agreement requires studios to hire union writers when producing made-for-the-Internet content, whether it be original Web-based TV shows or "derivative" material adopted from existing programs.

But the contract exempts low-budget original shows in which production costs are less than $15,000 per minute, $300,000 per program or $500,000 per series -- whichever is lowest.

According to leading TV producer and past WGA West President John Wells, the popular Web-based drama series "Quarterlife" is being produced for three times that much.

'SEPARATED' RIGHTS FOR NEW MEDIA

The deal preserves for creators of Internet content the concept of "separated rights" that already exist for creators of film and TV material -- retaining for them the rights to adapt that material for a stage play or novel. They also retain rights to characters they create for the Web.

TRANSPARENCY

The WGA is guaranteed full access to new-media deals, financial data and distribution statements to allow the union to evaluate and enforce the contract's revenue-based residual formulas for the Internet.

New media residuals based on transactions between related parties are subject to a test of "reasonableness" when compared to transactions between unrelated parties. The idea is to prevent the value of residuals from being manipulated through sweetheart deals.

Reuters/Nielsen
10:52 am est

Monday, February 4, 2008

More Tantalizing Rumors!
by Steve Young
According to sources who were with him at the Super Bowl, Fox honcho Peter Chernin assured his friends that "The Patriots won."
Developing...
6:12 pm est

Sunday, February 3, 2008

NEW STREAMLINED PROCESS MOVES TALKS ALONG

BY BILL SCHEFT 
     Promising stories published by the New York Times and the Associated Press Saturday indicated that we may be nearing the end of strike, thanks to the development of "creative solutions" to the most contentious sticking points between the Writers Guild and the AMPTP.
 
     Not only are the solutions creative, but scientific. Very simply, if Nikki Finke's phlegm turns green, the deal is a go. Brown, it's el paso.

Here's the complete color chart-

Nikki Finke Phlegm Color            Proposed Deal
 
Green                                        Go (or Good)
Brown                                        Shitty (or Bad)
Yellow                                       Proceed with caution
White                                        Strike ends Memorial Day Weekend  

2:02 pm est

Friday, February 1, 2008

Strike Day 89: Some Perspective

By Eric Stangel

The writers strike has been going on for 89 days. To illustrate how long it has been, you’ll be amazed by how the world has changed since November 5th

When the strike started on November 5th

…A gallon of gasoline was just $3.13

…Britney Spears did not speak with an unusual fake British accent 

…There was no such thing as “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew Pinsky”

…Dennis Kucinich still thought he had a chance to win the Presidency… or even a Primary 

…Jessica Simpson was just an airhead, not an airhead bad luck charm for the Dallas Cowboys 

…I was not friends with Justine Bateman

…Jamie Lynn Spears was considered “The Normal One” 

…We all thought Hulk Hogan and his wife Linda had the perfect marriage

…There were no mysterious deaths which had anything to do with Mary-Kate Olsen 

We were so innocent then. If only we knew then what we know now (Justine, call me) 

5:14 pm est

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It’s hard to write about the strike when…
By Bob Borden

I haven’t posted anything to the website since before the holidays.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure how to cover the strike without looking like a jerk.  How am I going to write about being on the picket line when I’m not on the picket line anymore?  I think about my WGA brothers and sisters everyday and hope this strike ends soon.  That said; how about a little story?  It was December 20th, 2007.  I was done picketing for the week and had two full days before I drove back to Ohio for Christmas.  Those two days were SO lonely.  No job, my friends were away or working and I’m not the type to pass the time by going to the gym.  After a day and a half of watching “The King of Queens” reruns (which I love), I thought, how can I help bring this strike to an end sooner?  I don’t have the money to take out an ad in the trades.  And I’m not a celebrity; I can’t get the attention of the local news cameras.  So, I decided to call WGA-East President Michael Winship and ask for his advice.  After a two-hour heart to heart, he came up with the idea of getting a personalized license plate.  Genius!  I hung up the phone and got to work.  It turns out, the New Jersey DMV website allows you check personalized license plate availability online.  I tried hundreds of combinations and settled on “NOAMPTP.”  Just as I was about to make my final click, I thought, what if my career takes off someday and I become a member of the AMPTP.  I’m just starting out; I don’t want to be blackballed because of a silly personalized license plate.  And, if the strike ends, I’m stuck with a very dumb plate.  So, I compromised:

webassets/bobtoday.jpg
OK, I didn’t compromise.  How fucking cool is that license plate?!  Solidarity!


11:15 pm est

2008.03.01 | 2008.02.01 | 2008.01.01 | 2007.12.01 | 2007.11.01

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A message from Late Show writer Bill Scheft....

This letter originally was posted on the late show newsgroup and the late show website.



I am the union rep for the show, and felt compelled to bring you up to date on the writers strike. Our guys have been so much better represented on the picket line than all the other NY shows. I am really proud of them.


Quickly, lest you think we are a bunch of spoiled brats just looking for a raise, the big issue, money from original content shown on the Internet and other new media, is our way of replacing the money we are losing over the disappearing residuals. Residuals are not a bonus. They are the way writers live when they are between jobs. The standard writers contact is up for renewal every 13 weeks. You can have a five- year contract, but they can let you go every 13 weeks without paying you any more as long as they give you a month's notice. That is the deal we all enter into. There are 12,000 writers in the guild. You need to make $30,000 a year in guild earnings to keep your health insurance. Last year, 6000 didn't reach that figure. Half.


I have been lucky enough to have a job for 16 years. That simply does not happen. So this is what we are fighting for. Believe me, we would love to be in the office, writing fun facts, actives with Rupert, illegally doctoring footage or downloading porn, but this is the frontline fight for all the other union contracts that come after us. The late night writers are the first ones affected by a strike, and the ONLY ones who will never recoup the money we lose because we do 10 times as many new shows per year as any drama or sitcom. But we go out in support of our fellow union members and pray this thing ends soon.


One more thing. To a man, all of the writers are deeply concerned about the collateral damage if we stay out too long. We think of the 150 people who work at the Late Show whose fight this is not and believe they will be taken care of. They are all embarrassingly supportive of us. No one any more so than Dave. It is quite humbling.


Sorry to be so serious, but this is serious business. I wanted to write you people because this site has loyally and relentlessly followed the show since we came to CBS. I felt you were owed as much of an explanation as anyone outside the negotiation room can give.


Feel free to ask any questions and I will try to respond. Thanks.


Bill Scheft 

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Be sure to get in touch so we know you're out there!