Saturday, February 09, 2008

Writers' Strike May End Monday

The New York Times is reporting this morning that the governing boards of the two writers’ guilds (WGA, West and WGA, East) are expected to meet as early as tomorrow, and the long and bitter strike could be over by Monday morning. They released a written agreement between the WGA and AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) negotiating committees upon which the WGA membership at large will vote. Read the proposed agreement here (pdf.)

After a self-imposed news blackout, the Guild let it be known yesterday (Friday) that the east and west divisions were in talks with AMPTP and, if they agreed, Guild members might be able to vote as early as Sunday (tomorrow), or Monday, to end the strike.

Earlier his month, the Directors Guild of American (DGA) reached a hand-shake agreement with AMPTP. Their members are scheduled to vote on ratifying that agreement 20 February. The question is: Will DGA ratify that agreement, or will they now consider the terms of the WGA - AMPTP agreement and vote to reject? If they do the latter, negotiations must start over.

Next up to negotiate with AMPTP? The Screen Actors Guild (SAG). Their agreement with AMPTP expires in June. SAG has steadfastly supported the WGA, most notably declining to participate in the 80th Academy Awards® broadcast.

That brings us to the next question. If the WGA ends the strike on Monday or so, how will that affect the Oscars®? The way I understand the communications I receive from the Academy, the cut-off date to proceed with the full Oscar telecast as usual, which will include the presence of the host (Jon Stewart), presenters, recipients, etc., or the glam and bling, is this Thursday, Valentine's Day. That's the date the service people (caterers, florists, waiters, etc.), and the craft guilds (carpenters, painters, lighting technicians, camera operators, stage hands, costumers, etc.) have set as the absolute date they must be authorized to deliver what the Academy will require on the 24th. In other words, AMPAS fully commits on the 14th to pay for the ordered services, and the support services will have the needed time to deliver same.

So, the final answer is, "The 80th Academy Awards can only be 'fully greenlighted,' if the strike is officially over by this Thursday (14th)." Otherwise, there will be that "other show," on the 24th, which Gil Cates does not want to produce, and most will not want to watch.

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Thank you for commenting! Mimi