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East Coast writers: Let's make sure there are 'no regrets'

February 9, 2008 |  1:04 pm


NEW YORK--Hundreds of writers poured into the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Times Square on a gray Saturday afternoon, eager to hear details about the tentative deal struck on Friday.

"I have some questions about it, and I'm going to go in and ask them," said Joe Toplyn, a writer for "Monk." "Mostly, I'd like a little bit more explanation of what the terms mean. I hope there are a lot of questions, and that way everybody understands what they're voting for and we have no regrets, whatever happens."

Many writers heading into the meeting voiced uncertainty about the agreement, including filmmaker Michael Moore.

"I have good feelings and not good feelings about it, and I'm going to go listen to what they have to say," Moore said as he ambled into the hotel.

Added Kevin Wade, the creator of "Cashmere Mafia": "I just got a chance to read it this morning, and I'm anxious to hear from the people who negotiated it."

Others were already decided.

"I'm in favor of it," said Peter Brash, a writer for a soap opera. "It's been a hard battle, but I think we've gotten what we could, and it's time to settle."

Claudia Silver, a writer for childrens television, said that the deal appears promising, but she wants to hear more about it.

"I think people will be happy to get the strike over if they feel the deal that they get is fair," Silver said.  "But I don't feel people are at a point where they're like, 'Whatever they say, we'll take.' I think people are going to be very sensible and stick to what they need to, and if it's not good, they're not going to take it."

Warren Leight, executive producer of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," said he believes the agreement achieves one major goal.

"The reason for this strike was to make sure we had coverage of the Internet, that it didn't become a guild-free zone, and I think we accomplished that," he said. "I wish some of the things that network programming got also applied to variety and cable."

"I think some people will push for more," Leight added. "But it becomes one of those analyses: how much more can you get for how much more pain?"

Andrew Smith, a writer for "The View," said he was suspicious of the agreement because he doesn't trust the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. But he said that if  WGA leaders recommend that  members back it, he'll go along.

"I'm broke and I want to get back to work Monday," Smith said. "Everybody had a date in their head, probably Feb. 1, that if the strike wasn't settled, they would have to do something radical, like go fi- core [declare 'financial core,' a lower level of union membership]. So I think everybody's ready. But on the other hand, I don't want the other side to take advantage of that."

More news on the strike

--Matea Gold