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Strike's first big casualty: 'The Office'

Wga

Office_2 The Writers Guild strike has scored a key prime-time victory: NBC's "The Office" has shut down production because lead actor Steve Carell, who also writes for the highly improvised show, has refused to cross the picket line.  NBC shot scenes that did not involve Carell in the last two days, but has given up because Dunder-Mifflin just ain't the same without Michael at its helm.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

 
Comments () | Archives (29)

Good for you Carell. Solidarity can work.

Carell has only written one episode of The Office, but he became a WGA member when he worked on The Daily Show.

Not to mention that several of the show's actors are writers for the show as well, and a couple others are WGA members, but do not write for the show.

Ok.. that's his right. It's also mine not to watch his show anymore. Way to go to shove your show into the ground Steve. I would have thought you would want to have your face on the screen after the bomb Evan Almighty this year.

FYI: it's Dunder Mifflin, not that it's real or anything.

Good for him. There are also a lot of other actors on the show that are writers - Kelly, Ryan the temp, Toby and others I think. They should honor the pickets. The actors contracts are up next year and they have many of the same issues to raise, so they all need to stick together.

But they should brand "Dunder Muffin." Might be delicious!

What the hell are you talking about Todd? The writers strike is their business, why would you not watch the Office because of it? What does it have to do with you? Idiot.

Besides, Evan Almighty wasn't bad.

I think I like Dunder Muffin, could be a spinoff set in a bakery. Dwight needs his own show!

The report is about Steve Carrell. He's written like what, 1 show? I'm curious what the rules are in Hollywood. If Carrell doesn't honor his contract by not going to work, is he in breach and can he be sued?

I thought in this day and age, we've moved past unions but I guess I was wrong. Unions are an outdated way of getting a fair wage. If you're not paid what you're worth, go elsewhere.

As for Evan Almighty -- excuse me.. it sucked. Check out the rating on Rottentomatoes.

These writers and the WGA are a bunch of crybaby's.
"Boo-hoo, we make $21,000 an episode (average $273,000/year) and residuals on top of that -- it's not enough!!"

How about I make some residuals off the chicken I sell or kids I teach?

Writers should be paid based on an individuals contribution, talent, and above all -- what the open marketplace is willing to pay.

Hey WGA it's get out of the 1800's where one company owns the only coal mine in town, there's this new thing called "the internet", you've probably heard of it but still obviously know absolutely nothing about it.
It's going to bash your old system.

Todd, what are you talking about..."moved way past unions"??? very simple minded....guess you're one of the few remaining Bush fans.

Normally I can't stand strikers but in this case I actually agree with the writers. Studios are greedy pigs and writers should be compensated when their work goes to dvd or the internet.

Tony; It's a shame you've had to work two jobs. "Would you like fries with that?" is a tough line to have to repeat all evening. I'm not a WGA member but I have actually completed a few screenplays and I can tell you stringing 120,000 words together into a coherent story is no mean feat. Actually telling a story is even harder. You're used to “free” broadcast television and you probably think U Tube is quality entertainment. I’ll bet your computer / i pod is full of music you didn’t pay for and most of the movies in your possession are DVDs you burned when you rented the movie. Heck, you could be a producer!
Well I got a news flash for all of you who seem to think the writers are somehow dipping into your pockets. This is not about writer's salaries; it's about eliminating as many “equity positions” as possible in the film production chain in order to funnel cash to the upper echelons of Wall St. This is just another union busting exercise that fools like you think is a good thing. If all corporations were run like Berkshire Hathaway unions would simply provide a convenient go-between. Sadly greed trumps good business most every time so here we stand. If you think the writer’s loss in this conflict won’t effect you’re working conditions as well as your children’s ability to rise above your difficulties you’re watching too much TV!

I think it's just dandy that Carell and the rest of these spoiled actors just screwed their production crew out of the last paycheck they might have seen for awhile. It's fine not to write to show solidarity, but to refuse to shoot completed scripts is nothing more than petulant displays of ego and power. Wonder how the production crews are going to pay their bills, since they've been laid off without pay.

Actually "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory" were shut down first. They went dark Monday morning as per the wishes of their Exec. Producer Chuck Lorre.

Kim, my husband works on The Office and neither him nor I am upset with Steve's decision. We feel that if all the lead actors of currently shooting shows and movies would follow in his example, the strike would end in a second. Celebrity SAG members carry much more clout than writers. Sure, we are worried about paying the bills, but we prepared for this possibility. And, sometimes, money isn't everything- whatever happened to old fashioned principles?

Great job Steve. This speaks to the real power of creative genius that
will hopefully bring NBC to its knees...and the reruns are playing on TBS.

the average WGA member makes $5,000 a year - including residuals - not thousands an episode. fair pay is worth it, and unions are the only way to go.
shame on you for bashing anyone who wants to work.

An Open Note To "Tony"

You honestly think that writers make an average of over 200K a year? Are you kidding me? You obviously don't know any actual writers, so sell your chicken and shut you mouth. Jerk. Do you realize that the studios want to pay writers NOTHING for programming aired on the Internet? NOTHING. Can you get it through your thick, jealous, wasting-my-life-blogging skull that in five years, people are ONLY going to be watching TV through the Internet? Do the math. That's we're fighting over. We'd like a little more than "nothing" down the road when the internet becomes the primary delivery vehicle of entertainment.

Honestly, do you think that just because "The Internet" exists, people are going to be able to "create" great shows? Obviously, there is plenty of room on the Internet for funny/interesting low-budget content that anybody can create, but there's still nothing like a big-budget, wonderfully written and crafted show. Do you think the current renaissance TV is undergoing (shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield, Lost, Friday Night Lights, The Office, 30 Rock, etc.) could just be produced by some writer who put them on the Internet? Television shows are giant enterprises made successful through the hard work of hundreds of people... not by some guy and three of his buddies who made a 3-minute Internet short. And those giant enterprises start with the writer. No writer, no show. If that writer didn't write that particular show, than nobody, from the Executive Producer down to the production PA, gets paid.

Do you understand that residuals on shows like "Lost," a show that makes ABC hundreds of million of dollars, rarely get paid because they DO NOT RE-AIR SHOWS? Those shows go straight to the web, and straight to DVD... meaning zero residuals for the folks that worked on them??? Unless you count the 4 cents per DVD sold. 4 cents.

Oh, and I read your blog. Might want to keep that secret chicken recipe to yourself, because you're never, EVER going to make any money on "the open marketplace." Creative-type dad. Good God. Your thinly-veiled bitterness towards people who have made it in this business makes me want to puke. Go look your kids in the eyes tonight and tell them Daddy is a blogging piece of crap that didn't have the talent or the mental fortitude to see his dreams through, and now spends his days sharing the minutiae of his sad existence with strangers and a loose handful of friends who have generously decided to lie to him about how "funny" he is.

Take it like a man and admit how wrong you are. All you're doing is parroting back a bunch of misinformation that the producers have leaked to the press.

Natalie,

I don't work in your industry, but many people close to me do. You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but it's not shared by others around me. I have friends on three shows that have gone dark, who work on production, and they all feel that by not finishing the scripts that were written, they were done a disservice. I also have friends that work in post-production, and it won't be long before they're laid off as well. Some of whom live paycheck to paycheck because they don't make enough to do otherwise.

I'll reference this blog article in the LATimes, please read the paragraph that starts with the word Wrubel. THAT is a case of honoring a contract AND standing up for what you believe is right.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2007/11/some-protestors.html

I'll also throw this out, it from the http://AMPTP.org website --

"According to WGAw, 4,434 of its working film and television members earned a combined $905.8 million in 2006. The average member earned $204,295 and over half earned at least $104,750. The WGA noted that these numbers are based on earnings reported for dues purposes and thus do not fully reflect above-scale payments. According to studies, workers in the media business earned on average just under $70,000 per year and the average Angeleno earned just over $46,000."
_____________________________________

Strangely enough, I've never seen an organization that operates under the premise that those who contribute nothing -- in this case, writers who haven't written anything in years, or maybe only wrote one produced piece in their life -- are given equal voting shares to someone who shows up for work every day and is on a live production.

Honestly, I thought the internet was a crazy business model when I started earning my living from it years ago; now I realize that there's nothing crazy about it. This scheme the WGA operates under? That is crazy.

Kim,

I hope you don't get all your information from the AMPTP website. Averages and median really mean nothing when you are talking about 50 people making millions and 50 people making $0. Just look at the median housing price as an example of that.

What the crew people you know should understand: 1. The shows will go dark soon anyway because of this strike. The Office only had two scripts left written. The faster the most damage is done, the quicker this strike will end. I feel like Steve Carell sped things up and got noticed. 2. Anyone who hasn't lived in a cave for the last six months knew that this would get ugly. We planned ahead for this and everyone else should have, too. This business is unpredictable. 3. Residuals help pay your friend's health benifits and pensions. Unions support unions. We are in this together. There are many IATSE members that do not work full time. But they are just as valid when it comes time to vote.

 
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