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Will writer/actors from The Office strike?

by Jen Creer, posted Nov 5th 2007 3:40PM
The Office
What would Ryan do? B.J. Novak, who plays Ryan on The Office, is also a writer for the show. So, will he show up for work today? He belongs to competing unions: The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has stipulated that actors must show up for work. However, as a member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), he could be fined by his union if he crosses the picket line.

Bob Sassone has already reported that 30 Rock's Tina Fey, bless her soul, is out on the picket line.

Novak isn't the only writer/actor on the show who faces this difficult choice: Mindy Kaling (Kelly) and Paul Lieberstein (Toby) will also be in the crossfire. Hopefully they all had the good sense to write themselves out of future scripts with the strike looming.

I have been wondering about SAG's official position on the strike. I am a little disappointed that they aren't supporting the writers in this strike, particularly given the discrepancy between actors' and writers' salaries. It seems as though the actors would be able to stay afloat during the strike period much more easily than the writers.

Variety reports that many sitcoms will probably stop production this week because so many edits are required during shooting. Showrunners -- as combined writer/producers are called -- will probably be filling in as many of the editing and re-write gaps as they can. However, they are also put in an also untenable position during the strike, due to their dual roles.

What would you do if you were a writer/actor or writer/producer? Would you, could you cross the picket line?
I'd strike.759 (68.6%)
I'd cross it.348 (31.4%)

Update: Steve Carell did not show up for work today, and neither did Novak, Kaling, or Lieberstein, which essentially shuts down production of the show.

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When is the strike going to be over? I just want The Office BAck!!!!!! We are suffering here! Please end this soon. THE FANS WANT THE OFFICE BACK!

January 27 2008 at 9:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the Actors who supporting the Writers is only a testament
how greed and and elitism is a disease in America,
not only in Washington, but in Hollywood as well.

and if there are any SAG members, or members of
any other Guilds or Unions who disagree with the
Writers Strike and demands, one can assume they
dare not speak out for fear of losing their jobs
and being blacklisted ...

what would one call succumbing to the mediocrity
of a disease and support like this? ...
Orwellean, McCarthyism, Fascism, Authoritarian,
Ideologism, Collectivism, Holism, Organicism?

and btw ... are the Actors supporting the Writers
only because their contracts are coming up
pretty soon for negotiaions?

and what about the janitors? … shouldnt they get their cut too?

and how about the guy who holds the boom mike?
doesnt he deserve his cut too?

and dont forget the sound editors, set designer,
costumers, the film editors, the grips, the lab,
the cameraman, the film loader, and the script girl …

why not give them all their cuts too …
after all, they got paid for the work they did
just like the writers got paid for the work they did

yea i sure feel sorry for a writer who got paid for
writing a script, and then cries that they need
residuals forever in perpetuity, to carry them
through between assignments when they are not working

cant they get a second job like at Burger King like a
lot of people have to do, to carry them through the
slow times?

actors often get secondary jobs ...
why cant the writers?

not to mention all of the people who lost their
income and jobs, putting them into financial crisis
due to the outrageous demands and greed
by the Writers Guild …

and i dont mind adding that …
most people believe it was bad enuf
that the current administration and the federal government
have lessened and restricted freedoms in America
based on the hysteria of a climate and situation
they themselves created, and are responsible for …

the Writers Strike only perpetuates and adds more to
the lessoning of freedoms in America, thru censorship,
and by restricting the freedom of the free exchange
and sharing of information and ideas in perpetuity,
unless of course, the Writers get paid for it …

and they also demand they get a cut from the Internet?

the amount of pennies they will gain,
is not worth the price of the loss of those freedoms

the Writers and Writers Guild only demonstrate,
how they are another example of how greed, inflation,
false entitlement, blackmail, further denies freedom
of access and availability of any and all information
to all people, including those who are not as rich as others.

its really very simple … if they do not own a piece
of the show to begin with, they are not entitled to a cut of anything.

November 20 2007 at 5:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


November 07 2007 at 7:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike McNamara

Sorry that link didn't work.

Try here

November 06 2007 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike McNamara

Apparently the SAG update isn't answering the question clearly enough. Mark Evanier explains here why SAG and other unions don't/can't strike at the same time as the WGA.

November 06 2007 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All for One and One for All ..

The more the actor's pitch in and strike, the sooner this thing will be over.

MCW: Being this is a TV blog, this strike is like the war in iraq for this site, so I'd say it requires multiple postings.

November 06 2007 at 9:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

#7 - I'd think because it's timely, newsworthy - and effects different shows in different ways. Clearly this topic is a bit different from Talk Shows for example.

Frankly I'm interested in hearing about how it effects each show. However, if there's a post I don't want to read - I don't read it.

November 05 2007 at 7:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This seems like a BIG issue for SNL, where alot of cast members are also writers...

November 05 2007 at 7:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

just because the actors make more doesn't mean they can stay afloat longer. most people spend more when they make more and its very possible if not likely that the same percentage of people live from paycheck to paycheck regardless of their union. Reminds me of the time i was walking here in NYC and one of the UHO people yelled out for charity for the homeless and said we're all just 1 paycheck away from being homeless, and a guy next to me said actually I'm 522. Not a bad nest egg i guess.

November 05 2007 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Given Charley's link, I think Cody's right: BJ is obligated to show up to act, but also obligated not to write.

November 05 2007 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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