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TV and film writers may return to work as soon as tomorrow now that an agreement has been reached concerning broadcast residuals for new media

Almost fifteen weeks ago, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) launched the second worker's strike in its 56 year history. The union declared the 0.33 cent-per-dollar residuals on permanent Internet downloads "unacceptable," countering with demands that writers must be paid royalties on all internet airs of written works.

According to the Hollywood Reporter the strike that started on November 5, 2007, hacked $2 billion from the local economy and the brunt of that loss of revenue in the economy was shouldered by small business owners like florists and caterers; only $733 million of the $2 billion lost was in production spending.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) countered by stating the WGA members that went on strike were far from hurting for money. The website prominently displays the fact that the 4,434 members of the WGA in film and TV earned a total of $905.8 million in 2006. The site also says that the average WGA member earned $204,295 in the same year and that over half the 4,434 members earned at least $104,750. The average Angeleno earned only $46,000 by comparison.

letter from the president of the WGA posted yesterday calls for a vote to end the strike and says that a vote will take place today. WGA members voting yes will be voting to immediately end the strike. Ballots will be cast at the Guild Theater from 2pm to 6pm today. That would mean writers could be back to work as early as tomorrow. The letter also called for no picketing yesterday or today until the vote was made.

The WGA website provides no insight into the terms of the proposed contract. However, the Agence France Presse states the new contract would pay writers a fixed fee of $1,200 per year for one-hour episodes streamed over the Internet for the first two years. On the third year the writers would get 2% of the revenue generated from the episode stream.

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By diablofreak on 2/12/2008 2:24:54 PM , Rating: 2
wow at least half of the members made at least 105000?
i make 115k and i thought i make a lot. time to switch careers!

RE: wow
By GhandiInstinct on 2/12/2008 2:53:12 PM , Rating: 1
115k doing what exactly?

RE: wow
By CollegeTechGuy on 2/12/2008 3:47:24 PM , Rating: 1
He's a professional Diablo player. He helps newbies level up...wait what n00bs? Everyone is an expert at that game by now :P

RE: wow
By Narutoyasha76 on 2/12/2008 4:43:59 PM , Rating: 1
You all realize that this agreement will inflate the prices for downloadable content, adding to the economic inflation of the United States??

Who should earn more a person who sacrifices more than ten years studying/practicing medicine, engineering, etc or a guy/gal who sits at a couch making stuff up on his/her brain??

RE: wow
By KristopherKubicki on 2/12/2008 4:48:01 PM , Rating: 3
I suggest you try it before you proclaim how easy it is :)

RE: wow
By Xerio on 2/12/2008 4:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
So, you are ripping not only those that make TV shows, but authors, video game production teams, etc? Anyone that uses their imagination to entertain us?

Sure, entertainment is a luxury, but if life was all seriousness, we would all be on anti-psychotics.

RE: wow
By KristopherKubicki on 2/12/2008 5:05:30 PM , Rating: 2
Entertainment is absolutely a luxury, but creativity is not. Unless you're in the particular crowd that thinks we should still be swinging around in the trees.

RE: wow
By Xerio on 2/12/2008 5:11:41 PM , Rating: 2
Totally agree with you there. Without creativity, none of us would be where ever we are in the world typing comments on this awesome website. :D

Creativity is necessary. Actually, creativity is far more basic. It is human.

RE: wow
By BladeVenom on 2/12/2008 5:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
Sure creativity is great, but what's that got to do with television? It's mostly the same mindless junk endlessly recycled.

RE: wow
By Xerio on 2/12/2008 5:41:18 PM , Rating: 2
For the most part, very true. But, there are a few great shows out there. Chuck, for example: very well written, directed, produced, acted, and freakin' hillarious!

The best part about TV, though, is that I can choose what I want to watch. Who cares that there is a bunch of regurgitated crap out there. I don't have to watch it.

RE: wow
By KingstonU on 2/12/2008 5:21:09 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think he was ripping on artists/creators saying that it is pointless or worthless, but that it is much less work than being an engineer or a doctor etc.

I am an engineering student and I know that my workload at school means that I am sacrificing 4 years of my life. Compared to my arts friends who hardly ever do any work or ever get up before noon for class. Your d*mn right I feel I deserve to get paid more. I'm being more factual than offensive here, but someone who is not or has not been in a heavy science/math program, simply has no idea.

RE: wow
By KingstonU on 2/12/2008 5:22:53 PM , Rating: 2
And 4 years is only for my Bachelors.

RE: wow
By Xerio on 2/12/2008 5:46:31 PM , Rating: 2
You think many of these artist/creators didn't work as hard as you? Just because you have artist friends that don't work hard?

College is like that: you get those that work hard and those that don't. Doesn't matter what field of study.

By the way, I was a business management major with a minor in IT (heavy math in the program I went through). I feel your pain.

RE: wow
By borismkv on 2/12/2008 5:05:52 PM , Rating: 2
The price of downloadable content will not increase above what people are willing to pay for it. It's already bloated in my mind, considering the complete lack of packaging costs. The only overhead they have is bandwidth. For the most part, this strike wasn't over the residuals paid for downloadable content (TV episodes and movies paid for and downloaded by consumers) but over *streaming* content. Writers were not being paid at all for content that is streamed through marketing supported services like YouTube and Hulu, which is where the future of entertainment over the internet is begining to go.

RE: wow
By Spuke on 2/13/2008 12:48:08 AM , Rating: 2
In southern CA, 105k a year ain't much. The median home price in LA County is 550k, in Hollywood specifically, it's 1.1 million.

Give me a break!
By JackBurton on 2/12/2008 2:33:38 PM , Rating: 2
The site also says that the average WGA member earned $204,295 in the same year and that over half the 4,434 members earned at least $104,750. The average Angeleno earned only $46,000 by comparison.

Give me a break. Let's compare apples to apples. How much did the stars of Friends make compared to how much the writers of the show made. I can tell you the stars made AT LEAST $1 million PER EPISODE . Let's hear how much the writers received.

RE: Give me a break!
By omnicronx on 2/12/2008 3:16:52 PM , Rating: 2
How is comparing a writer to an actor Apples to Apples?

RE: Give me a break!
By Wolfpup on 2/12/2008 4:00:29 PM , Rating: 2
Because they're both working on the show.

RE: Give me a break!
By borismkv on 2/12/2008 5:01:33 PM , Rating: 2
Because an actor can't do squat without a writer, maybe? If it worked that way you'd have nothing but Survivor clones and about a million rehashes of "Who's Line is it Anyway".

RE: Give me a break!
By KristopherKubicki on 2/12/2008 5:07:57 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, you wouldn't even get either of those shows. Look at the end of the episodes, both have the WGA symbol at the end.

I always wondered why so many of the reality shows took a hiatus during the strike. Then i came back to the obvious conclusion that most of those are scripted anyway.

RE: Give me a break!
By Xerio on 2/12/2008 5:18:57 PM , Rating: 2
That is why most "reality" shows suck... I always wondered.


I don't believe The Amazing Race is scripted. I could be wrong though.

RE: Give me a break!
By masher2 on 2/12/2008 10:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
> "Because an actor can't do squat without a writer, maybe? "

True, but those few TV actors who draw huge per-episode fees are integral to the show in a way a writer isn't. Most shows swap writers in and out fairly regularly without the viewers even noticing, whereas if they lose the show's star, the series may well be over.

BTW, if you're a longterm writer on a hit series where the star is drawing $1M/episode, you're likely earning far more than the industry average of $200K/year anyway.

RE: Give me a break!
By masher2 on 2/12/2008 11:07:16 PM , Rating: 2
> "I can tell you the stars made AT LEAST $1 million PER EPISODE . Let's hear how much the writers received."

I don't know about TV series, but a higly paid Hollywood screenwriters can earn $1 to $3 million per script.

Nice Spin from AMPTP
By Cobra Commander on 2/12/2008 2:32:24 PM , Rating: 2
People are going to read the headline and forget that the writers were getting zilch from non-traditional mediums. :( Everybody is overpaid if you ask the right or wrong person - professional athletes, teachers, writers... everybody has a beef. But the point the WGA was making was not they don't get paid enough but that the suits were trying to make more money by squeezing the little people. With all the Billions in Hollywood a barely-six-figure salary for one of the most critical components in the process is not unreasonable compensation.

RE: Nice Spin from AMPTP
By aos007 on 2/12/2008 2:46:37 PM , Rating: 3
Personally when I watch TV I watch it for the STORY first. If a show doesn't have a good story, I won't watch it no matter how good the actors act or look. As far as I am concerned, script writers should be the highest paid people in that food chain.

RE: Nice Spin from AMPTP
By Wolfpup on 2/12/2008 3:58:11 PM , Rating: 2
Yup. Everything else is moot if it's not well written. The writer's are THE key element, as important as the work everyone else does is too.

RE: Nice Spin from AMPTP
By xsilver on 2/13/2008 1:50:23 AM , Rating: 2
Tell that to the people who see movies solely based on the fact that tom cruise / angenina jolie some other pyt etc. is in it.

What Im more puzzled about was that the studios were holding out because of a 0.33% cut? or was the wga asking for a lot more and the 0.33% was the compromise figure?
i mean if a tv episode download on itunes is $4, thats 1.3 cents to the writer - would it be safe to assume thats total and not for each of the writers?

Instead the studios hold out and cost the industry 2 billion dollars? isnt that around 1.5 trillion itunes downloads?

By dagamer34 on 2/12/2008 2:44:46 PM , Rating: 2
DailyTech, I'd either comment on this BS of this statement or remove it: "The average working WGA member earns more than a surgeon according to the AMPTP"

Clearly $282,000 > $104,00

RE: What?
By Cygni on 2/12/2008 5:35:58 PM , Rating: 2
It is according to the AMPTP. If they made the claim, it should stay up. If its wrong, its their fault.

High average salary, no?
By peritusONE on 2/12/2008 3:11:52 PM , Rating: 2
The site also says that the average WGA member earned $204,295 in the same year and that over half the 4,434 members earned at least $104,750.

When this strike first started, I remember listening to the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom radio show, and they had as a guest one of the writer's from the Letterman show who was also on the WGA members board or whatever it was (I can't remember his name off the top of my head). But anyway, I remember him saying that the average salary of a WGA writer was around $35k (although there were a few who did make over $100k), at which point I sympathized with their cause.

This guy was a friend of Bob and Tom and was on the show regularly. Now I wonder who is telling the truth...

RE: High average salary, no?
By Wolfpup on 2/12/2008 4:04:48 PM , Rating: 2
I've heard similar salary amounts by quoted by other writers too (and remember that stuff in California where a lot of them have to live is a LOT more expensive than elsewhere).

Plus a significant percentage of writers is supposed to be between jobs in a given year, so have to live off of what they've previously earned.

im just glad its over...
By kattanna on 2/12/2008 4:04:43 PM , Rating: 3
as someone who works here in the industry, i can tell you LOTS and LOTS of people were out of work, and many small businesses went under.

our own business had to let many people go as well.

i have many..many unkind words for both sides cause in the long run their selfishness costed many more people more dearly then themselves.

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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