|Striking Writers “Picket with the Stars”
Hundreds of Screen Actors Guild Members Join Picket Lines Outside Universal Studios on Day Nine of WGA Strike
LOS ANGELES -- On Tuesday, hundreds of film and television actors joined striking members of the Writers Guild of America on picket lines outside Universal Studios, giving a big boost to Day Nine of the WGA strike against the studios, networks, and conglomerates that dominate U.S. media.
“There isn't an actor I talk to who hasn't felt what the writers are going through,” said William Petersen, the star of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Petersen picketed along with Marg Helgenberger, Wallace Langham, and other members of the cast of CSI.
“The writers' fight is our fight,” said Camryn Manheim, star of Ghost Whisperer. “They're the ones who make us look good. Writers deserve to be compensated for the entertainment, the stories, the humanity and everything they put into the world. People are benefiting from the writers' work.”
Contract talks affecting 10,500 writers broke off Nov. 4, when negotiators from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers walked away from the bargaining table. The WGA strike began Nov. 5.
Issues include residual payments for original and reused programming on the Internet, and jurisdiction over “reality” and animated TV programs. Before discussions broke off, the AMPTP proposed changes in the writers' contract that would radically reduce residuals.
The sight of more than 2,500 members of the Writers and Screen Actors guilds marching together along Universal City's Lankershim Blvd. underlined the support that other entertainment industry unions are showing the strike. WGA members and supporters also picketed Tuesday at locations across Los Angeles.
Jon Cryer, of Two and a Half Men, said, “Everyone knows the Internet is the future. If we don't get a piece of that, we're doomed.” Added Jason Alexander, “This is not about some big star's salary. It's about big company profits. It's high time writers shared in a percentage of the profits.”
Among the many actors who showed their support were Katherine Heigl, T.R. Knight, Amy Brenneman, and other members of the casts of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, Brad Garrett and Kat Foster from Til Death, Ray Romano of Everyone Loves Raymond, and casts of Desperate Housewives, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Army Wives, Cold Case, The Big Bang Theory, Without A Trace, Numb3rs, Rules of Engagement, Jericho, Dexter, Mad Men, Women's Murder Club, Las Vegas, and many other series.
Sarah Silverman told interviewers, “It's so crazy ridiculous. All the writers want is a small percentage of the money the producers are making on things they're writing. The producers will still be incredibly rich, even if they give the writers what they deserve.”
Matthew Perry chimed in: “We're all supporting you guys. I'll personally stand on this corner until everything works out.”
The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) represents writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, and new media industries in both entertainment and news. For more information, please visit: www.wga.org.