The Writers Guild of America will further its status as the biz’s most confrontational union in the next few days.
WGA leaders are heading into the lion’s den, attending the network upfronts in Gotham to battle the growing use of product placement in TV shows.
The guild’s been short on specifics, but the tactics are likely to be the same kind of aggressive, attention-getting moves it has employed recently: guerilla theater, disrupting panels and wearing Leslie Moonves masks.
“We’re looking at the upfronts as a real opportunity to raise awareness of a number of issues,” says WGA East prexy Chris Albers.
The WGA already has demanded that writers get a cut of the money generated by product placement, threatened to ask the FCC for a formal investigation, launched phony Web sites mocking product placement and taken its complaints about product placement to European officials.
The guild also has been holding clinics in recent weeks for writers on reality shows — which aren’t covered by the WGA — to instruct scribes how to make overtime claims with the state of California.
The WGA says it has signed up 1,000 writers who want guild representation; it also assisted in filing two suits alleging labor law violations last year against nets and producers.