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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

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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:

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


11:15 pm est

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Speechless" #87: Vladimir Lenin
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5:45 pm est

Urgent!! Another High Profile Interim Agreement....

Our sources close to the National Football League tell lateshowwritersonstrike.com that an interim agreement has been reached for Super Bowl XLII...

From what we have been told, there's won't be a surprise ending, but it will be exciting at least into the second quarter.... 

More as it becomes available....

(Sorry, my ..... button sticks.....)

-Eric Stangel 

11:08 pm est

Monday, January 28, 2008

More Work For Side Deal Writers
The deals between the WGA and the various film and TV production companies are starting to pay off in a big way.  Lionsgate has announced that it's developing a feature project about the negotiations that led to the Weinstein Company's decision to greenlight a script about United Artists moving forward with a film about the side deal between the WGA and Worldwide Pants.

The film is scheduled for a July 4 2009 release.
-Steve Young
11:04 am est

Friday, January 25, 2008

URGENT: THE STRIKE NEEDS TO END

HERE IS YET ANOTHER SIGN NEW AND ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING NEEDS TO GET BACK ON THE AIRWAVES.

TONIGHT THE 2005 ADAM SANDLER REMAKE OF THE LONGEST YARD AIRED ON CABLE...FROM 9:00PM TO 11:30PM...ON TWO DIFFERENT CHANNELS...AT THE SAME TIME 

END THE STRIKE SO THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN

-ERIC STANGEL 

11:30 pm est

Friday, January 25, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: AMPTP To Negotiate With Another Union

By Steve Young

 

This is big.  We’ve been told by several Hollywood insiders that another creative union has agreed to early negotiations with the AMPTP.  If a deal can be made quickly, it may be the key to resolving the WGA strike.  Next Monday the AMPTP will start bargaining with the GMTGWP—the Guild of Movie and Television Guys With Ponytails.

 

Let’s hope they get this done.

1:18 pm est

Thursday, January 24, 2008

OUR FIRST OFFICIAL SPONSOR

By Jeremy Weiner

LateShowWritersOnStrike.com is pleased to introduce our first official sponsor:

FERRIGNO FITNESS EQUIPMENT
A division of Lou Ferrigno Enterprises

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"With hard work, dedication and regular workouts on Ferrigno Fitness Equipment, you can transform yourself into a bodybuilding icon, dramatic actor, author and motivational speaker just like me"!   - Lou Ferrigno

For more information, visit
http://www.louferrigno.com/products.asp?cat=14

9:54 am est

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

An Award Show Interim Agreement?
We are hearing that an interim agreement has been reached which for the annual Minneapolis area Teddy Awards. Best of luck to everyone at WJM. The show will go on...

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-Eric Stangel
7:13 pm est

COOLER HEADS PREVAILING?
A new spirit of cooperation between the Writers Guild and the AMPTP may be in the offing. Witness the following comment posted on Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily last Saturday night at 11:16 pm
Dear Tom,
Blow me.
Signed, The WGA
9:02 am est

Friday, January 18, 2008

CORRECTION
Earlier this week, LateShowWritersOnStrike.com incorrectly posted that "Twilight Zone" creator and television icon ROD SERLING had elected to go financial core and remain a WGA member in name and dues only. We did not mean Rod Serling, who several readers pointed out died in 1975. We meant PADDY CHAYEFSKY. LateShowWritersOnStrike.com regrets this error.

-Bill Scheft
11:34 am est

Real News Update- Directors Make A Deal

From Reuters...

Directors Guild, studios reach contract deal
Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:48pm ES

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Hollywood directors' union reached a contract deal with major film and television studios on Thursday -- a move likely to turn up pressure to settle a 10-week-old strike by screenwriters.

The tentative three-year labor pact between the Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers was announced five days after the two sides opened formal talks.

The Directors Guild's existing contract covering 13,000 members, including directors, assistant directors and unit production managers, expires on June 30.

The Directors Guild has a history of reaching swift labor pacts with the studios, but the latest deal has drawn unusually intense scrutiny because of its implications for ending a strike by the Writers Guild of America.

Some 10,500 Writers Guild members walked off the job on November 5, shattering 20 years of Hollywood labor peace, in a dispute that has centered on how writers are paid for work distributed over the Internet.

The Directors Guild deal contains a number of points addressing how directors should be compensated for work in new media, including provisions that essentially double the rate currently paid for Internet downloads, the union said.

It also establishes new "residual" fees to directors for the reuse of material in the form of advertising-supported online streaming and video clips, the union said.

With the announcement of the directors' deal, attention shifted to the possibility of restarting talks between the studios and striking writers that collapsed in acrimony on December 7.

Since then, much of U.S. television production has ground to a halt, major film projects have been derailed and year-end Hollywood award ceremonies have been scaled back or canceled. Even the fate of the Oscars show next month, which Cates is producing, is in doubt.

Some industry watchers have said an early contract deal with the Directors Guild could hasten renewed talks between the writers and studios, perhaps even providing a template for a Writers Guild settlement.

Writers Guild leaders, while saying they welcomed the Directors Guild talks, have insisted they will resist any industry effort to force a deal on writers that they find unsatisfactory.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

9:15 am est

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rumored Merger Could Shake Up Industry
LateShowWritersOnStrike.com has been tipped off to a potential merger that, if it goes through, could drastically alter how business is done in television and movies.

The merged entity would be called the WGAMPTP.

Insiders indicate that the new organization would be on strike against itself and would refuse to negotiate with itself, a situation that could end all production forever.

More as it develops...

-Steve Young
9:12 am est

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: ROD SERLING GOES FI-CORE!!!
Details to come. Bear with me. Just trying to get a second confirmation, but this is big!!!!!

-BILL SCHEFT
6:33 pm est

URGENT! ARE NIKKI’S SOURCES ON HIATUS, TOO?

As you know, LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com has stepped up and taken over as the official site for breaking news about the WGA strike while Nikki Finke is on hiatus.  That’s all well and good, but in order for it to work, the anonymous sources and insider contacts who regularly leak information to Nikki now need to leak information to us.  In the last five hours, the only “sources” we’ve heard from are some guy who once wrote a Shazam!  spec script and Jeff Zucker’s cousin, Mitch [and, frankly, he didn’t give us much].  Let’s go people!  Start sending in those scoops.

-Jeremy Weiner

9:38 am est

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

AMPTP/DGA STICKING POINT

Negotiations are continuing between the AMPTP and the Directors Guild of America and rumor has it they are going well.

 

However, according to information given to LateShowWritersOnStrike.com there is one sticking point. The Directors want it written in the agreement that they will never again have to direct films about a teacher with an unorthodox style coming in to a troubled school system only to win over and inspire the students (see Stand and Deliver, Lean On Me, Dangerous Minds, The Principal, Dead Poets Society, The Substitute and Summer School.)

 

The AMPTP has no problem with this, however, the DGA is also insisting this includes films about ragtag sports teams which pull together to overcome great odds. (See The Bad News Bears, The Bead News Bears In Breaking Training, The Bad News Bears Go To Japan, The Mighty Ducks, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Coach Carter, D3: The Mighty Ducks, We Are Marshall, Hoosiers, A League of Their Own, Kicking and Screaming, Remember The Titans, The Replacements, Necessary Roughness, , The Kid From Left Field, Major League, Major League II, and Major League: Back To The Minors)

 

More information as it becomes available…

-Eric Stangel

9:21 am est

Monday, January 14, 2008

TOLDJA! SIR EDMUND HILLARY DOESN'T REACH 89TH BIRTHDAY
Story to come....

-Bill Scheft
8:34 pm est

FIRST BIG EXCLUSIVE!!!!!!
This information was leaked to us by someone directly involved in the negotiations between the DGA and the AMPTP.

Many hours were spent Saturday and Sunday at an undisclosed location in Encino, CA discussing/arguing DVD formulas. The conversations from what we were told became quite heated at times. After almost 50 hours at the table, the only thing both sides could agree on was "Them DVDs is hard to open!"

This could be a long strike.

-Justin Stangel
11:21 am est

Nikki Finke On Hiatus/LateShowWritersOnStrike Taking Over The Duties...
Over on Deadline Hollywood Daily, the number one source for news and updates on the Writers Strike, Nikki Finke has announced she is taking a small hiatus until January 22nd.

Until she returns, LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com will take over as the official site for breaking news and insider talk about the strike.

Stay tuned for our updates....
9:54 am est

Sunday, January 13, 2008

We are humbled

As I'm sure you all saw on the 65th annual Golden Globes Press Conference Award Show Announcement Extravaganza Winners Special, LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com has won the best internet website award.

Since the ceremony was changed due to the writers strike we were not able to accept the award in person, so we would like to say thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and our fellow nominees for best internet website. It's an honor to be mentioned along with Google, Hats.com and RoundAsses.net

Thank you again and here's to a great '08.

-Eric Stangel 

9:50 pm est

What's Rupert's Soup of the Day?
5:55 pm est

ANOTHER VICTORY FOR WGA!
BY BILL SCHEFT
 
Thanks to support for the strike, mounting pressure on the AMPTP and a typographical error, today the Writers Guild of America annnounced another cancellation: Amateur Boxing's Golden Gloves.
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Way to go, guys! In the words of Sun Tzu: "First, your enemies ignore you, then they make fun of you, then you fuck up their shit."
4:37 pm est

Friday, January 11, 2008

Chris Elliott's Strike Blog
5:58 pm est

More Side Deals

BY STEVE YOUNG

 

Good news: the trickle of companies making separate agreements with the WGA is becoming a flood.  The Guild is pleased to announce deals with the following studios and production companies:

 

--Tom Bosley Adult Film Enterprises

 

--Uproarious Pictures (Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s company)

 

--The Dumont Network

 

--Death to America Entertainment (a division of Al Qaeda, Inc.)

 

--Nick Counter Productions

Onward to victory!

10:27 am est

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

How Many Striking Writers Can We Get Into A Jamba Juice?

Thanks to our fellow Writers Guild members from various programs at various networks for helping us out....


3:04 pm est

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Fun From The AMPTP

BY STEVE YOUNG
 
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers isn’t just a trade organization—they’re now in the toy business!  Everyone will enjoy this amusing AMPTP novelty:
 

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 Simply ask the AMPTP 8-Ball any yes or no question, and turn it over to get one of twenty answers:
 
 No
 No
 No
 Absolutely not
 No
 Out of the question
 Not a chance
 Not going to happen
 No
 How dare you
 Impossible
 No
 Nope
 Not now, not ever
 We said no
 N-O
 What an outrageous question
 No
 No
 Okay, fine, yes, now leave us alone
 
 The AMPTP 8 Ball is for amusement only and is not intended for settling labor disputes.

12:47 am est

Saturday, January 5, 2008

AMPTP's complaints about the Writers Guild demands
9:33 am est

Friday, January 4, 2008

Striking Writers Top Ten List

On Wednesday, fellow WGA members joined us to deliver "Top Ten Demands of the Striking Writers"

We thank the following folks for helping us out...

Tim Carvell, from "The Daily Show."

Laura Krafft, from "The Colbert Report."

Melissa Salmons, writer for daytime TV.

Warren Leight, writer for "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

Jay Katsir, from "The Colbert Report."

Steve Bodow, from "The Daily Show."

Writer and director Nora Ephron.

Gina Gionfriddo of "Law & Order."

Chris Albers from "Late Night with Conan O'Brien"

Thurber Award Winner and Author Alan Zweibel.

 

12:45 pm est

Thursday, January 3, 2008

WGA Negotiating Team Diary
BY STEVE YOUNG 
 
The Writers Guild remains ready and willing to negotiate, despite the precipitous walk-out by the AMPTP.   Each day the WGA negotiators faithfully show up at an undisclosed Los Angeles hotel conference room where they wait in vain for their AMPTP counterparts to return to the table.  The negotiating team provided this diary of a recent typical day:
 
9:56 a.m.: Arrival, so the AMPTP can’t claim “they weren’t even ready to start at 10.”
 
10:00 a.m.: Loud cries of “AMPTP?  Hello?  AMPTP?” met with silence.
 
10:08 a.m.: WGA intern’s coffee delivery prompts long discussion of the relative merits of wooden vs. plastic stirrers.
 
10:43 a.m: Negotiator who used to write for “Bonanza” gossips about the disturbing habits of the late Dan Blocker.
 
11:00 a.m.: Negotiators snap off the tips of their pencils so they can kill some time sharpening them.
 
11:16 a.m.: Long silence, broken only by the occasional soft whoosh of air from the AC ducts.
 
11:44 a.m.: “Early negotiations” about where to go for lunch.
 
Noon-2 p.m.: Lunch at nearby diner, with long discussion of the relative merits of yellow vs. brown mustard.
 
2:00 p.m.: Back at the table, sheets torn from legal pads for origami competition.
 
2:30 p.m.: Creator of the best origami swan awarded a WGA logo shoehorn.
 
2:40 p.m.: Another long silence.
 
3:19 p.m.: One negotiator finally goes mad, wrenches hideous abstract painting off the conference room wall, tears it to pieces before being escorted out.
 
3:25 p.m.: Discussion about whether the WGA health plan will cover psychotherapy treatments and/or medication for the painting destroyer.
 
3:50 p.m.: Medium length silence.
 
4:01 p.m.: Before anyone else can have a breakdown, chief negotiator John Bowman suggests turning over conference room chairs, scrutinizing the labels for information on the make, model number, and date and place of manufacture.  
 
4:02 p.m.: Chair data compared and pondered.
 
4:34 p.m.: Obscene phone call to Nick Counter suggested, but since nobody has his number, obscene call is eventually placed instead to Nick Lachey.
 
4:48 p.m.: Clock is watched.
 
5:00 p.m.: Negotiating session ends with no progress made, but the WGA team agrees: they’ll be back tomorrow, and someone should bring Yahtzee.
12:39 pm est

MORE STRIKE CAPTAIN DUTIES
By BILL SCHEFT
I was hoping the strike would not last this long for many reasons, not the least of which is one of the little known strike captain duties: Gathering New Year's resolutions from the men who serve under me. I'm not absolutely sure I'm supposed to publish them, but just to be on the safe side, here they are:
JUSTIN STANGEL: Stop answering phone "What the fuck?"

ERIC STANGEL: Restrict 3:00 am feedings to newborn daughter only.

STEVE YOUNG: File change of address form with ESPN, start cashing "other" Steve Young's checks from NFL Countdown, split with fellow striking Late Show writers (minus 15 percent handling fee).

JOE GROSSMAN: 1) Answer all 5000 fan letters from Austria by end of strike. 2) Avoid carbs on picket line.

TOM RUPRECHT: Try to be a little more subtle when hawking screamingly hilarious book, George W. Bush: An Unauthorized Oral Biography http://www.amazon.com/George-W-Bush-Unauthorized-History/dp/0740767577/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?e=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198861544&sr=1-1 

MATT ROBERTS: Finally finish and turn in revised draft of lavish Broadway musical, "Jack Hanna Get Your Gun."  

LEE ELLENBERG: Don't screw up with you know who by telling her about you know what you know where. And you know why. And don't act like you don't.

JEREMY WEINER: Stay 500 feet from Richard Belzer, except when there is a hot sandwich involved.

JOE GROSSMAN: There's hot sandwiches? Where?

BOB BORDEN: You just missed the guy.

JOE GROSSMAN: Son of a bitch.

BILL SCHEFT: Come up with a less hacky premise for website than New Year's Resolutions.
11:51 am est

It's still Christmastime!
BY STEVE YOUNG

Because Christmas Is For The Children
  
The calendar may read January, but the Christmas spirit still lives. Don’t miss one last chance for the kids to make their Christmas requests!  Tonight at Woodbridge Center Mall in Woodbridge, New Jersey, the little ones can visit that jolly old elf himself, AMPTP president St. Nick Counter!  Each child will be allowed to sit on St. Nick’s lap, tell him how good they’ve been and what they want, then watch in stunned disappointment as Mr. Counter stalks off, snarling that he won’t return until they’ve withdrawn their demands!
 
Free candy canes will not be distributed.
11:46 am est


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ENJOY OUR SUPER COOL LATESHOWWRITERSONSTRIKE.COM VIDEOS

 

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!