Grab an Industry Friend and Play SAG Strike Mad Libs!

STV · 06/13/08 07:40PM

Try as we might, there really is no fresh angle to report in the ongoing contract drama between SAG leadership and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — the saber-rattling fuckers hate each other, and no strike-avoiding resolution is in sight before the current deal's June 30 expiration date. That said, a story is a story, so why not stimulate your interest (and ours) by adding your own fun invective and hyperbole to the mix!

Crisis Averted (Sort Of) As AFTRA Reaches Deal with Studios

STV · 05/28/08 09:25AM

Happy news emerged this morning from the deep, dank reaches of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers headquarters, where it was announced the major studios have come to last-minute terms with AFTRA on a new three-year contract. Conveniently or not, the report comes a few hours before AFTRA's former negotiating partners in the Screen Actors Guild were set to resume their own talks with the majors. And with AFTRA reportedly agreeing to conditions on new-media residuals similar to those accepted by the DGA and WGA during the latter union's strike, SAG has until June 30 to determine if the terms are good enough for itself — or detonate! The! Industry! with another labor stoppage.

Actors No Closer to Deal as SAG, AFTRA Spar Over Clips

STV · 05/19/08 04:00PM

After a week-long lull in apocalyptic mutterings from all sides of SAG and AFTRA negotiations with the major studios, a couple of new stumbling blocks have appeared en route to a deal. For starters, AFTRA national president Roberta Reardon today sent out a sobering e-mail to her members, both acknowledging her discussions' ongoing news blackout while giving the rank-and-file plenty to leak to the press. To wit: Reardon writes that even AFTRA, which was expected to breeze to a new contract after SAG very publicly dug in its heels last month, is apparently having a hard time coming to terms with the majors on new media:

SAG Saves Best Acting For the Press as Negotiations Grind to Halt

STV · 05/08/08 02:45PM

There's only so much ledge-prancing, saber-rattling, gun-pointing madness a person can get away with spinning in the press, and at a glance, anyway, it appears SAG national executive director Doug Allen may be faking the labor funk a little too aggressively. Now that his union's extended (and re-extended) negotiation period with the major studios is over, leaving AFTRA to step in and take everything it's offered no-questions-asked, Allen kvetched to Variety today that goddammit — they were so close! Like, just a few hours away! No, really. He actually said that:

SAG Drama Renewed For Another Episode; Full Season to Follow?

STV · 04/28/08 12:15PM

More apocalyptic Hollywood strike talk is surfacing this morning, with Variety noting that little progress has been made in the ongoing contract negotiations between SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Shocking! But with one week remaining on their clock before the compliant gang at AFTRA gets their turn to bend over the conference room table for a little rough, residual-based intimacy, time is of the essence for an aggressive union leadership that wants to at least pretend it maintains the upper hand:

Fi-Core 28 Mere Pawns In Bitter WGA-AMPTP Blood Feud

Seth Abramovitch · 04/23/08 06:15PM

Last week ended with a jaw-dropping memo from the desks of Patric Verrone and Michael Winship, in which the WGA presidents stated their desire to see the "puny few" who elected financial core during the writers strike to be "held at arm's length" by the rest of the membership, adding, perhaps a tad indiscreetly, "and should the vats of boiling tar and freshly plucked chicken feathers sitting outside our office be of some use to you, so be it." Now, the 28 black-listees have found an unlikely ally in this ugly fracas, with arch WGA nemesis the AMPTP having filed a complaint today with the Natl. Labor Relations Board, in which they claim the letter violated federal law.

Studios' Open Letter Only Slightly Condescending to SAG, AFTRA Negotiators

STV · 04/08/08 11:50AM

In what could charitably called a polite preemptive blast against SAG and AFTRA, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers yesterday issued an open letter affirming its rightful position in the driver's seat of upcoming negotiations with the recently split actors unions. "Driver's seat" is probably also too kind; perhaps "bending its receivers over a barrel of new media revenues" is more like it:

Upfronts, Peacocks And Low-Grossers

mark · 02/15/08 04:40PM

· Good news, advertisers, entertainment journalists, and fans of overblown montages of new shows that will likely be canceled before December: The upfronts are back on! The networks may continue them in some modified form, but it seems as if they're planning on maintaining the most crucial part of the tradition: free booze. [Variety]
· This year's five Best Picture nominees have earned just $295 million at the box office (and Juno is responsible for about $120 mil of that), putting the group on pace to be the second-lowest grossing crop of Academy honorees in two decades. You should all be ashamed of yourselves, especially if you haven't seen No Country or There Will Be Blood yet. [THR]
· Ellen Page and Cillian Murphy will star in Peacock, in which Murphy will play a small town guy with a multiple personality disorder that leads him to live life as both a man and his wife, and Page the "struggling young mother" who touches off a domestic dispute between the two sides of his fractured psyche. Disclosure: a friend of ours co-wrote this script, and it's fucking brilliant. We're not even going to be objective about this on our last day. [Variety]

The Strike May Be Over, But The Struggle Never Ends

mark · 02/11/08 08:11PM

Due to an arcane by-law in the WGA constitution, no strike can officially be called off until one the Guild's longest-tenured and most visible members appears on television to ritualistically recite the story of Lew Wasserman's Toilet, in which the legendary Hollywood mogul supposedly dismissed the idea of paying residuals by saying, "My plumber doesn't charge me each time I flush the toilet." Thankfully, comedian and tenured Oscar gag-writer Bruce Vilanch completed this curious formality earlier today on CNN, allowing the rest of the strike-cancellation process to proceed as scheduled.

The Strike Is Over! On Wednesday! Let There Be Rejoicing! But Not Too Much!

mark · 02/11/08 12:35PM

With word arriving over the weekend that Saturday night's WGA Scribeapalooza II: Let's Call the Whole Thing Off event at the Shrine Auditorium sent TV showrunners back to work today and will return everyone else to their jobs on Wednesday pending the outcome of a strike-ending vote to be counted tomorrow night, Hollywood can safely upgrade its feelings of Cautious Optimism to full-blown This Waking Three-Month Nightmare Is Finally Over Euphoria.

Cautious OptimismWatch, Day 2: WGA Trying Not To Get Excited Until A Contract Is In Hand

mark · 02/05/08 01:45PM

On this second day of the New Era of Cautious Optimism ushered in by Friday's "informal" bargaining session between Writers Guild negotiators and studio CEOs—when WGA West president Patric Verrone's repeated striking of Disney's Bob Iger with a foam EncounterBat™ led to a critical, tearful breakthrough on the matter of streaming video payments— the LAT reports that the Guild's West Coast board has "reacted favorably to the outlines of a pending agreement" between the warring factions. Still, they refuse to uncork the Moët until everything they've fought for is actually in contract form and put to a vote that could—dare we say it? yes, we will dare—happen as early as this weekend:

The Strike Is Over! Or Over In A Week! Or Everyone's Being Set Up For Another Crushing Letdown!

mark · 02/04/08 12:45PM

In case you were too consumed with your Super Bowl preparations to scroll through the scores of "THE STRIKE IS OVER!!!" e-mails filling up your BlackBerry, various reports touting "progress" fueled by a breakthrough in Friday's informal deal-chat surfaced over the weekend, filling Hollywood with the kind of cautious optimism the beaten-down residents of a crippled company town haven't allowed themselves to feel since the AMPTP's Nick Counter stormed away from negotiations after claiming that someone on the WGA negotiating team had given him "the stink-eye" back in early December, ushering in weeks of unrelenting gloom.

Male Fans Issue Resounding 'Not Cool' Re: Jessica Alba's Pregnancy

mark · 01/29/08 09:15PM

· Don't look so put out by that dude who's not cool with your knocking-up, Jessica Alba. He's the one who's helping to pay for little Cash, Jrs. baby clothes.
· As long as she's got a bottle of wine and two other jilted lovers, Maggie Gyllenhaal doesn't need AMPTP and his lies.
· Christian Brando, Christopher Coppola, whatever. Close enough.
· You know times are tough when the CAA Death Star bothers to lean over to devour the stringy, unsatisfying flesh of the fully grown in a desperate attempt to sustain itself.
· Well, sure. If no one tells the Japanese tourists that the little person the guy from Herman's Head has just reduced to tears is supposed to be standing in for a child, of course they're going to be a little disturbed by such an upsetting tableau.
· Seriously, though: if you watch only one video of a muscle-suited, 1994-era Ryan Seacrest having tennis balls fired at him by 12-year-olds, make it the one we posted this morning. Continue to ignore it at your own peril.

mark · 01/24/08 06:01PM

Though widely vilified by those sympathetic to the WGA cause, AMPTP president Nick Counter has been doing groundbreaking work on behalf of the endangered Mountain Gorillas of Central Africa, embarking on a tireless quest to save the the species from extinction that often places him in grave danger. Shadowy blogspot truth-teller Bachem Machuno (of onetime Agents Can Eat My Ass Out Like Hungry Bears fame) has returned from a long hiatus to share Counter's story with Hollywood, hoping to humanize a man often so often unfairly depicted as a crow-riding bogeyman: "Counter's strategy in the case of the Mountain Gorilla was straightforward: herd them into an enclosed area, and wait. Whether it took weeks, or months, or entire seasons. Let them starve and turn on each other; only then will the strongest and most capable of them survive and contribute to a strong gene pool going forward." []

WGA Takes Reality And Animation Off The Table, Won't Picket Grammys

mark · 01/22/08 07:44PM

How about some quick, late-afternoon strike news to break up the unpleasantness of today's dominant, thoroughly depressing story? OK then! In an e-mail blast to members, WGA West/East presidents Patric Verrone and Michael Winship say that they're happy to join in informal talks with the AMPTP, and that they've decided to pull their reality and animation proposals off the table to help get a deal done. Also, the Guild won't be picketing the Grammys, one awards show we really wouldn't have missed if it gave its life for the Cause: "In order to make absolutely clear our commitment to bringing a speedy conclusion to negotiations, we have decided to withdraw our proposals on reality and animation. Our organizing efforts to achieve Guild representation in these genres for writers will continue. You will hear more about this in the next two weeks." The full message follows after the jump:

Hollywood Reacts To The DGA Deal

mark · 01/18/08 02:50PM

· The DGA, as you undoubtedly heard just moments after puffs of white smoke were belched skyward from the chimney of AMPTP headquarters, reached a deal with the studios yesterday. While anxious WGA members are picking over the proposed contract to see if any writer-screwing provisions have been hidden in the fine print, a strike-weary industry reacts: "One thing that is very clear is that with all the bad blood between the WGA and studios, the writers can strike until the end of time and they will not do better than the directors did. It is time to stop this," said a "veteran agent" obviously eager to start earning commissions again. Check out the full story to read quotes carefully chosen to make the WGA look totally unreasonable if they don't fall hopelessly in love with the terms offered the directors! [Variety]
[After the jump: more deal reactions! Zac Efron hearts Orson Welles! Primetime TV may soon offer nothing but celebrity circus shows!]

A Nervous Hollywood Asks: Where The Hell Is This DGA Deal Everyone Says Is On Its Way?

mark · 01/17/08 03:25PM

· Warner Brothers allows its options on the Justice League cast to lapse, putting the project on "indefinite hold," though the studio has assured its roster of mostly no-names that it still would eventually like to see what they all look like in their cute superhero costumes. [Variety]
· Like Monday's American Idol episode, last night's installment was down in the ratings from the show's 2007 season; still, the 30 million people who tuned in were more than enough to help Fox completely eviscerate its competition. [THR]
[After the jump: Hayden is a cheerleader 4ever, the DGA-deal waiting game, and WB layoffs begin!]

America Not Particularly Interested In Billy Bush's Announcement Of Golden Globes Winners On NBC

mark · 01/14/08 03:09PM

· NBC's Billy Bush-enhanced Reading of the Golden Globes Winners telecast draws just 5.8 million viewers, lower Nielsen numbers than even last week's public-access-quality People's Choice Awards delivered to CBS. Meanwhile, the premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was huge for Fox. [THR]
· Shaking off the disappointment of its Globes debacle, NBC orders another season of Proven Ratings Winner American Gladiators (surely, two episodes is all the evidence one needs to make such a commitment!), though the network is being coy about how many episodes it's ordered or when they might air. [Variety]