As the Writers Guild of America’s strike against the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers moves into its seventh week, cracks are beginning to appear in the union’s armor. Until this week, late night television staples such as Leno, O’Brien, Letterman, Stewart and Colbert were mired in “classic” episodes (read: reruns) without any end in sight. Now, it looks as if all but Letterman will be returning – albeit without writers – beginning in early January. For its part, Letterman’s production company is seeking a separate, interim deal with the Guild to facilitate the return of new episodes of the Late Show.
As usual, the sticking points in the negotiations are monetary. But, not surprisingly in Hollywood, the cost of health insurance is not at the top of the list. Instead, the writers primarily are seeking a greater share of DVD and “new media” (e.g. internet) revenues as a means of protecting their interests in ever-changing media markets.
Until original network programming returns, we’ll have to make do with a number of humorous websites, blogs and youtube videos created by the writers themselves and spawned by the strike. For instance, check out: