At first it was a threat, now it’s real: News Corp.’s Fox Studio has suspended producer-writers who refused to cross strikers’ picket lines to perform non-writing work on television dramas and comedies. The company sent suspension notices, advising them they would no longer be paid, Chris Alexander, spokesman for Twentieth Century Fox Television said in an interview.
The decision by some producer-writers to stay off the job threatened to shut down work on new episodes with completed scripts.
Assistants to the writers also were suspended after being paid through the end of the week, Alexander said. Fox will continue paying health benefits until the end of the year and is encouraging assistants to return to the company once production resumes.
Reports that studios were laying off support staff and issuing breach of contract letters to TV show runners included Shawn Ryan, show runner of FX’s "The Shield," who told The LA Times his contract was suspended without pay as of Wednesday.
Veteran producer and director Jon Avnet said the strike was more inspiring than the one 20 years ago. "This is very different, a very real unity."