Talks between the striking Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers resume today (Dec. 4) after breaking last Thursday. Since then, each side has circulated statements indicating that there remain considerable differences between them. After talks broke off Thursday, the WGA distributed a memo to its members that argued that a new AMPTP proposal amounted to a ”massive rollback.” ”Among the rumors [circulating about the talks] was the assertion that the AMPTP had a groundbreaking proposal that would make this negotiation a ‘done deal,”’ the statement read. ”In fact, for the first three days of this week, the companies presented in essence their November 4 package with not an iota of movement on any of the issues that matter to writers.”
The AMPTP responded in a letter on Friday that stated that an offer to increase writers compensation was ”in fact a very big ‘roll’ forward.” ”With these improvements, writers remain among the highest paid employees in America,” the letter said. However, the Alliance softened its stance in an ”Open Letter to the Entertainment Industry” released today, which stated that the producers’ proposal last week was ”not a ‘take it or leave it’ offer. It is designed to allow both sides to engage in the kind of substantive, give-and-take negotiation that can lead to common ground.”
Meanwhile, the networks are preparing for the strike to continue on into next year. Yesterday, CBS announced a new lineup for January and February, which includes the return of The New Adventures of Old Christine on Jan. 28 and a first-ever winter edition of Big Brother on Feb. 12.
The AP reports that the strike could cost CBS, ABC, and Fox a combined $300 million, according to a report from Alan Gould, senior analyst with New York-based Natixis Bleichroeder. The report did not include General Electric Co.-owned NBC.