Strike Talks Derailed

I’m not trying to be like Chicken Little here, but our TV season is falling. The AMPTP has broken off negotiations with the WGA. According to a statement made by the WGA, the AMPTP came to them this afternoon with a proposal that rejected their proposal regarding streaming internet. When they refused to accept it, the talks abruptly ended. The statement says: “As we prepared our counter-offer, at 6:05 p.m., Nick Counter came and said to us, in the mediator’s presence: ‘We are leaving. When you write us a letter saying you will take all these items off the table, we will reschedule negotiations with you.’ Within minutes, the AMPTP had posted a lengthy statement announcing the breakdown of negotiations.”

For its part, the AMPTP places the blame for the breakdown squarely on the shoulders of the WGA: “We're disappointed to report that talks between the AMPTP and WGA have broken down yet again. Quite frankly, we're puzzled and disheartened by an ongoing WGA negotiating strategy that seems designed to delay or derail talks rather than facilitate an end to this strike.”

Rumors have been flying for days about an imminent breakdown in talks, but many remained hopeful that this round of negotiations could end in an agreement. The fact is, if the strike doesn’t end in the next week or so, there’s a very good chance that the 2007-08 TV season is effectively over. While we’ll have the reality shows and midseason replacements that are in the pipeline, shows that have already run out of new episodes, like The Office, Pushing Daisies and Heroes will not be producing any new episodes for the foreseeable future. In addition, pilot season is coming dangerously close to being affected by the strike; which may mean no new shows next season.

As “puzzled and disheartened” as the AMPTP claims to be, they are nowhere near as puzzled and disheartened as the fans who just want the writers to get a deal so they can have their TV back. The fact of the matter is, the AMPTP knows that if they give into the writers demands, it makes it that much easy for SAG and the other unions to ask for more money when their contracts are up. It’s a trickle-down effect that the producers are trying to stave off in order to hold on to as much of their profits as possible. Until the studios are willing to give an inch, our shows will remain in limbo.

You can read the full statements at WGA.org and AMPTP.org.