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Letterman makes deal with WGA - BREAKING NEWS

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 28th 2007 4:50PM

LettermanAnd then there were none.

David Letterman has struck a deal with the Writers Guild of America, and both his show and The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson (both produced by Letterman's Worldwide Pants) will return next Wednesday, January 2. The other shows are coming back on that day too, but a key difference is that Letterman's show will be coming back with his writers, thanks to this deal hammered out by Rob Burnett and others. Both sides have been trying to come to an agreement for the past couple of weeks, and it actually looked like things might have fallen through last week.

I don't care why or how Letterman can get a separate deal that the other shows didn't get (it's because Worldwide Pants owns both shows), I'm just glad he's coming back. Me get boom boom headache from strike talk! It's exciting to know that I can turn on my TV again at 11:35pm every night and not have to watch a Will & Grace rerun for the 40th time.

It's going to be interesting to see what Letterman says about the strike on his first night back, since he was very vocal about supporting them even before the strike began and is a member of the WGA himself.

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Animation workers already have the Animation Guild. It's hard to believe reality TV has writers but I guess anything's possible in Hollywood.

The sympathy strike issue is problematic. The whole point of a strike is that it ends once agreement has been achieved. If the WGA got their demands met only to walk again due to a dispute with another union, the producer's incentive to agree with them today would be eliminated. The AMPTP would be dead wrong if they gave in on this.

The story about the producers walking from the table doesn't make the point union sympathizers have been using it for. The producers have said if the WGA doesn't drop reality TV, animation and sympathy strikes then they have nothing to talk about. They showed up at the table, announced this, then left. The producers couldn't have made their point any more clear. It's not some sort of excuse because if the WGA agrees to drop those points in writing, then the producers have promised to return to the table. Why wouldn't the producers have thought this through in the first place?

But I still don't know who to root for. I agree with Jimmy that there's no right or wrong here. This is business and everyone's just looking for the best deal.

December 30 2007 at 12:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Now if only Conan and TDS and Colbert Report would come back. But Letterman and Ferguson are good enough.

December 28 2007 at 11:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've never been sure where I stand on the strike. Hollywood is infamous being disreputable with how they pay people. So I can see why the Guild is being so vigilant in their negotiation. I'm honestly not sure who's right or wrong in this crisis.

But according to:
the WGA said, Letterman's company "had accepted the very same proposals that the Guild was prepared to present to the media conglomerates when they walked out of negotiations on Dec. 7."

How can that be? The Late Show hires Reality TV writers? Fergeson is animated?

And I truly doubt that both shows' writers can strike again even if their contract is no longer in arbitration.

And these are the issues holding up this negotiation.

I do agree with the producers alliance when it comes to the sympathy strike issue. The WGA is asking that they be able to walk again in support of strikes of other unions and that simply doesn't make sense. The producers alliance is refusing to negotiate about that and there's absolutely no reason that they should.

They are also asking to add reality writers and animation writers to their union. This bypasses the National Labor Relations Board voting system and I can see why the producers would be reluctant to allow this.

Like I said, I really don't know who I support here. I can see why the writers want what they're negotiating for and perhaps everything will work out in their favor.

But the Letterman deal appears entirely irrelevant to me. The producers alliance has threatened to abandon the table until the WGA drops their requests for animation, reality TV and sympathy strikes. And the Letterman deal clearly doesn't change that at all.

December 28 2007 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to unbiased's comment

> I'm honestly not sure who's right or wrong in this crisis.

There is no right and wrong. It's a negotiation, not a lawsuit.

December 29 2007 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The thing to keep in mind w. reality and animation is that they are issues that have always been on the table in this negotiation. The AMPTP made them an issue to justify giving an ultimatum on 6 issues and then walking away from the table 5 minutes later. They (reality/animation) are important issues to the WGA, considering they are written medium not being covered by the Guild. Indeed, it is somewhat silly they aren't covered by the WGA. And yes, reality shows are written.

However, they are not the sticking points for the Guild, nor is the sympathy strike issue, though I for one would love to be able to legally walk out in support of other unions. The key issues are new media downloads (essentially the WGA wants 6 cents out of the $1.99 per TV show download and a similiar percentage of movie streaming) and to increase the writer's monies on DVD sales from 4 cents to 8 cents. Yes, 8 cents.

I don't know what the Worldwide deal was, but obviously those figures would not break hollywood....

December 29 2007 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is fantastic. Nobody can say that David Letterman isn't classy. To have pulled off this deal shows that he was much more concerened about the people who work for him then wheter he was risking his job like some people(Carson Daly). I certainly hope that this allows him to beat "The Tonight Show" in ratings. Not so much because it would be against Leno, because he would be beating NBC, who treated him like crap after Johnny Carson retired.

December 28 2007 at 9:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hopefully more shows do this so we can get our TV back - soon

December 28 2007 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Greatest news I've heard in a long time.

I guess this article was either premature, or just terribly lousy reporting: http://www.tvsquad.com/2007/12/23/no-deal-for-letterman-and-his-writers/

December 28 2007 at 6:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to MJL's comment

Or, considering that that post is four days old, it was made with the best information available. It was, however, just referencing a story from a different source.

December 28 2007 at 9:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Or, considering that that post said the deal had "fallen through," it is awful reporting...especially since the article it supposedly "referenced" never once suggested the deal had fallen through.

December 29 2007 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
B. Williams

Congrats to Dave & Company on job well done. A belated Christmas gift for everyone (except for maybe the producer's guild).

It will be interesting to watch what the reaction is from other interested parties, like teams Leno and nBc.

December 28 2007 at 6:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dana J Adams

Wheee I'm on vacation next week so I guess I can stay up late and watch both!!I'd rather watch a snapshot of Dave for an hour than watch Leno at all!!!

December 28 2007 at 6:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott K

This is great news. I'd rather watch Letterman take a nap than watch Leno with or without writers.

December 28 2007 at 5:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Julius Marx

I know some people think this weakens the WGA's hardline stance, but I think it was a classy move on Letterman's part to make sure when he returns it is WITH writers and the WGA's blessing.

December 28 2007 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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