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Depending on whom you believe, the WGA may have their first defectors in their strike. According to Variety, several writers on The Young and the Restless have crossed the picket line in the interest of keeping their jobs. People with “knowledge of the situation” are telling Variety that one of Y&R’s writer-producers has informed the WGA that he is going to go “financial core,” which means he will give up full membership in the guild, thus allowing him to continue to work on the daytime series. Another source says that two more Y&R writers have gone fi-core and at least one writer for Days of Our Lives is considering the move.
The first rumors of scabs working on daytime soaps started as soon as the strike did. The demanding production schedule on soaps, combined with their steady decline in popularity in recent years makes them more vulnerable than primetime shows. NBC has made it clear that it may not renew Days of Our Lives when its license agreement expires and the network already ditched Passions back in September (the soap has since been picked up by DirecTV). There have also been rumors of CBS getting rid of at least one of its soaps. Many people involved fear that a long period of reruns or pre-emptions that may result from a lengthy strike would be the final nail in the coffin for the fledgling genre.
ABC, who airs General Hospital and One Life To Live are distancing themselves from the issue and painting a slightly rosier picture, saying in a statement, “ABC's daytime dramas are written well into the new year, and we will continue to produce original programming with no repeats and without interruption.”
Also denying trouble is United Hollywood.com, a site run by a group of WGA strike-captains. In an update to an earlier response to the Variety article, they say that while a non-writing producer who happens to be a member of the WGA has decided to go fi-core, the multiple members of the Y&R writing staff who the magazine says have elected to cross the picket line do not exist.
If this is true, the soap situation may not be as dire as the Variety article suggests. Unfortunately, even one person crossing the picket line serves to undermine the entire strike and makes it that much easier for another writer worried about losing his or her job to be the second. Whether that actually happens will be largely a function of how long the strike lasts. What is clear is that soap operas are a major point of vulnerability in the WGA’s effort.