Thursday, January 03, 2008

That Sound You Hear is My Head Exploding

So late night returned to television and I'm not even going to pretend I understand why Letterman and Worldwide Pants can negotiate an individual deal with the WGA while networks force the other late night shows back on the air without their writers.

Too much for my amateur brain.

My humble concern: If Leno's show falls short of expectations compared to Letterman (who now has writers), it might be an indication that producers need to scurry on back to the table. But could the reverse not be claimed by the AMPTP as well? Leno is a talented and creative guy who isn't going to purposely do lame monologues. Could reasonably successful Leno shows without writers encourage AMPTP to sit on their wallets longer? And, I'm confused about Conan as I thought he was a WGA member bound by the "thou shalt not write" rule?

If you hear a loud sound and then a splat . . .


Elver said...

The WGA is simply doing the good old "divide and conquer" thing.

The biggest problem right now is that AMPTP is not a studio, but an organization created by the studios to represent them. While many studios find the WGA deal acceptable and would like to go back to work, the AMPTP does not. It's an organization largely independent of the studios and as such it doesn't share the same needs as the studios.

WGA wants to work. Studios want writers to work. Those two can negotiate, because each have something that the other wants. AMPTP's only real need is to crush the WGA. AMPTP does not depend on the WGA for its livelihood. And so the best thing right now is for the WGA to just ignore the AMPTP until the latter starts truly representing the needs of the studios and puts a more sensible offer on the table.

WGA doing separate temporary deals with Worldwide Pants and others is simply to show that the deal WGA is offering is sensible and it's something that the studios can indeed agree to. The AMPTP claims that WGA's demands are preposterous. By breaking the perceived studio unity under AMPTP's umbrella, the WGA is showing that their demands are very reasonable indeed.

Grubber said...

further to Elver, Dave Letterman owns Worldwide Pants which produces Late Show, hence WWP can (and has) done deal with WGA. Leno, etc are employees of NBC, etc. so they can't do the deal, they are waiting on NBC (ie AMPTP (satan)) to conclude deal.

From my understanding they are hoping that doing the deal with WWP and giving it an advantage, might bring pressure on AMPTP to get back to the table, or other largeer prodcos to do seperate(but they would all be the same )deal and place even further pressure.

I think the strategy is fine but time will tell. Bastard of a process.

Hope that helps a little.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Yes, fellas, thanks loads. That clears up some of the mud. Still wondering how Leno and Conan can write their own jokes if they're Guild members.

Grubber said...

"Still wondering how Leno and Conan can write their own jokes if they're Guild members."

That one I am not sure about either.

Apparently the WGA rang and spoke to Leno to clarify he cannot write his monologue, which to me only leaves him doing it as improv, I suppose it is the same with Conan.

I believe Leno is WGA, not sure about Conan, to me if he writes one word he risks getting struck. Will the WGA do it? Who knows.

Good question, maybe someone else has more info.