USA: Striking writers threaten disruption at Golden Globes

USA: Striking writers threaten disruption at Golden Globes

Striking members of the Writers Guild of America plan to picket the Golden Globes awards ceremony scheduled for January 13, the guild announced Wednesday.

The west coast division of the WGA issued a statement announcing that the organizer of the awards ceremony, Dick Clark Productions, was one of the companies from which writers went on strike and therefore members would picket the awards ceremony.

"Dick Clark Productions is a struck company. As previously announced, the Writers Guild will be picketing the Golden Globe Awards," it said in a statement.

"We are engaged in a crucial struggle that will protect our income and intellectual property rights for generations to come. We will continue to do everything in our power to bring industry negotiations to a fair conclusion," it said.

"In the meantime, we are grateful for the ongoing support of the Hollywood talent community."

Hollywood screenwriters have been on strike since November 5 after the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed to agree terms for a new contract that expired in October.

Negotiations foundered over the writers' demands for an increased share of profits from Internet and new media sales. The eight-week strike has forced the suspension of numerous television series as well as the postponement of work on several Hollywood films.

The producers of the Golden Globes said they were seeking an interim deal with the guild and said the WGA "could be accused of playing favorites if it fails to grant a waiver to the Globes since it has already done so for the SAG Awards and the Sprit Awards," Variety magazine's web site said.

"Much like the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Film Independent's Spirit Awards, we want to enter into an agreement with the WGA that will allow the entertainment industry to celebrate the outstanding work of creative individuals in addition to millions of fans nationwide," said Jorge Camara, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

"It is only fair that we be afforded the same opportunity as these other awards shows," he said.

Striking writers were also to protest Wednesday outside the studios where "The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno," "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live" television shows are filmed, because the shows are returning to air without their writing staffs.

Two other late night shows - "Late Show with David Letterman" and "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" - are also returning to air but after striking a deal with CBS's production company Worldwide Pants to keep their writers on board.

WGA East President Michael Winship wrote in a letter to members on Tuesday that the picket of talk shows was not a criticism of the hosts but of the networks and studios that are resuming without their writers.

"Leno, O'Brien and Kimmel are all members of the Guild and have been and continue to be extremely supportive of our strike and their writing staffs. For that we truly are grateful," Winship wrote.

"Nonetheless, they are coming back without writers and without a new Guild contract, forced back on the air by companies that refuse to sit at the table and bargain with us. We cannot let that pass."

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Jan 8 2008 12:22