'Becker' five on strike a day after suing Par
The “Becker” brouhaha continues: The laffer’s supporting cast has gone on strike.
One day after filing a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Paramount Network Television, thesps Terry Farrell, Hattie Winston, Alex Desert, Shawnee Smith and Saverio Guerra failed to attend a “Becker” table read Wednesday.
Insiders close to the actors said they won’t appear at today’s “Becker” rehearsal either.
“I don’t think they would have taken the step of not showing up today if they had the intention of returning tomorrow,” this source said. “But these things are negotiations, they’re fluid.”
The “Becker” five didn’t phone in sick Wednesday — unlike a previous one-day absence the five thesps staged on Aug. 1 — but instead simply didn’t show up for work. (A Paramount spokeswoman said Winston had previously asked for the day off.)
Series star Ted Danson did attend the table read, as did guest stars including Jane Carr. Various staffers, including some writers, filled in for the missing actors.
Paramount had no comment about the latest move by the “Becker” supporting cast. But should the actors stay home, things could get hairy by Monday, when cameras are blocked off for the show’s Tuesday taping.
Although Paramount declined to discuss its options, should the “Becker” supporting cast continue to avoid work, the studio may mull a countersuit alleging breach of contract and a temporary restraining order that would force them back to work.
“It is very much a gamble,” one in-the-know person said. “But if they didn’t feel so strongly, they wouldn’t be willing to take the risk.”
Wednesday’s absence comes as the actors argue that Paramount reneged on a written agreement to renegotiate a raise with the actors that would take effect beginning with the show’s fourth season. The actors hope to convince Par to begin renegotiations for a pay hike retroactive to the start of that season.
“Becker” thesps, like most TV actors, are contractually locked in at an established salary through the show’s sixth season. It’s common practice, however, for studios to renegotiate salaries if a series makes it to a third or fourth season.
The five actors are represented by attorney Larry Stein, who filed the suit on their behalf.
(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)