Shari Anne Brill, Carat USA VP/director of programming, while hoping all of the good news relating to a strike resolution is on target, cautions that negotiations may not be as positive as reported.
“I think something is imminent but I just don’t know how soon,” Brill tells TVBR. “Being the cynical person that I am, the studios may be just saying all of the right things right now just so they can get the Oscars to go on the air without a hitch. And then afterward are they are going to give the WGA a hard time? I will tell you if the writers remain disheartened by what’s going on [in negotiations], they will picket that on the 24th.”
The Oscars help the studios—they help their movies. Remember, WGA writers are both TV and screen.
“I think the studios may be doing some good news leakage to the press to make the writers look bad if they don’t take what was offered,” she adds. “But that’s just me thinking how manipulation could go on in the press. What’s interesting is the WGA has been completely silent. Their leadership has been telling members to hang tough, stay in solidarity and to keep up the picketing. Bottom line, the writers have to be happy. The AMPTP walked away on 12/7 and left them hanging. The AMPTP were the ones that held out the olive branch to come back to the table after the DGA deal was done. So now they’re dealing with Chernin and Robert Iger—the key people who were working with Nick Counter—the one who seemed to cause most of the earlier problems.”
Brill says the best case scenario, if the strike ends very soon, would be new programming hitting the screen by April. Most likely, any framework of deal that may or may not have been struck will be given thumbs up or thumbs down this weekend at the WGA rally in LA. Negotiators will present the latest offerings to guild membership.
TVBR observation: It’s interesting–the script is the blueprint for programming content. And because of the residual system that started years ago, writers gave up ownership to their work. If WGA writers owned their own content, this would be a whole different animal right now.