Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Writers' strike day three: Showrunners walk the picket line

Posted on

Moore_l

Moore_l

In an extraordinary show of power and solidarity, some 70-plus showrunners, from series as varied as CBS’ Numb3rs to Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana, walked the picket line Wednesday in front of the Disney lot in Burbank, CA. Virtually every primetime show was represented on the line by its exec producer. Among the showrunners marching alongside WGA West President Patric Verrone were Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (Lost), Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy), John Wells (ER), Steve Levitan (Back to You), Ed Bernero (Criminal Minds, pictured with star Shemar Moore), Bill Lawrence (Scrubs), Kevin Falls (Journeyman), Greg Berlanti (Dirty Sexy Money, Brothers & Sisters), Seth MacFarland (Family Guy), Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives), Greg Garcia (My Name is Earl), Joss Whedon (the upcoming Doll House), and Carol Mendelsohn (CSI).

“It’s very heartening to see everybody. It’s an extremely powerful group,” said Levitan, whose freshman comedy Back to You went dark on Wednesday with only three completed episodes in the can. “There is not one person out here who doesn’t lose in a strike, and there is not one showrunner who is actually going to gain anything. We are all going to lose, no matter what happens. The minute we lose a week’s production, we lost and will never regain that. Past generations have made a sacrifice for us, and now it’s our turn to make a sacrifice for future generations.”

Wells showed mixed emotions about walking the picket line.

Though he described the gathering as “old home week,” because he was

running into so many familiar faces from his past, he was discouraged that the Guild is

striking over issues that are “relatively easy to resolve.” He also

downplayed his involvement in the closed-door talks over the weekend

that ultimately fell apart late Sunday. “It was overblown,” he said.

“What I did over the weekend at the request of the Guild was to make

some calls and try to get people together to talk. I was concerned and

the Guild leadership was concerned that there hadn’t really been

serious conversations taking place. Finally, there was some real

progress on Sunday, and some real talking going on. But these

conversations should have really happened months ago.”

Not everybody on the picket line looked happy to be marching with their fellow showrunners. Chuck Lorre, who executive produces the top

rated sitcom Two and A Half Men and the freshman hopeful Big Bang Theory,

wore a long face and barely socialized with his fellow picketers (both

his shows were forced to shut down indefinitely). And Lorre’s mood only got worse;

within an hour, he would learn that a low-level executive at Warner

Bros. TV would attempt to complete the post-production episodes of Men and Theory that

are still in the can. “I want to go back to work,” he told Hollywood Insider.

“Somebody call the president of show business and resolve this!”

Throughout the morning, several actors and celebrities joined the showrunners on the picket line, including Moore, Jay Leno, as well as Sally Field and a few other members of the Brothers & Sisters cast. This won’t be the last show of solidarity by the guild; Grey’s

Anatomy stars Katherine Heigl, TR Knight, and Sandra Oh are expected to

walk the picket line with the writers on Wednesday afternoon, and the entire,

3,000-plus WGA West membership is expected to converge on Paramount Studios on

Friday morning.

Meanwhile, rumors persist that several more studios will join

Paramount on Wednesday in suspending development deals for writers who are not

in production on shows.

Wells showed mixed emotions about walking the picket line.Though he described the gathering as “old home week,” because he wasrunning into so many familiar faces from his past, he was discouraged that the Guild isstriking over issues that are “relatively easy to resolve.” He alsodownplayed his involvement in the closed-door talks over the weekendthat ultimately fell apart late Sunday. “It was overblown,” he said.”What I did over the weekend at the request of the Guild was to makesome calls and try to get people together to talk. I was concerned andthe Guild leadership was concerned that there hadn’t really beenserious conversations taking place. Finally, there was some realprogress on Sunday, and some real talking going on. But theseconversations should have really happened months ago.”

Not everybody on the picket line looked happy to be marching with their fellow showrunners. Chuck Lorre, who executive produces the toprated sitcom Two and A Half Men and the freshman hopeful Big Bang Theory,wore a long face and barely socialized with his fellow picketers (bothhis shows were forced to shut down indefinitely). And Lorre’s mood only got worse;within an hour, he would learn that a low-level executive at WarnerBros. TV would attempt to complete the post-production episodes of Men and Theory thatare still in the can. “I want to go back to work,” he told Hollywood Insider.”Somebody call the president of show business and resolve this!”

Throughout the morning, several actors and celebrities joined the showrunners on the picket line, including Moore, Jay Leno, as well as Sally Field and a few other members of the Brothers & Sisters cast. This won’t be the last show of solidarity by the guild; Grey’sAnatomy stars Katherine Heigl, TR Knight, and Sandra Oh are expected towalk the picket line with the writers on Wednesday afternoon, and the entire,3,000-plus WGA West membership is expected to converge on Paramount Studios onFriday morning.

Meanwhile, rumors persist that several more studios will joinParamount on Wednesday in suspending development deals for writers who are notin production on shows.