“Tonight Show” lays off staff; corporate says: “If your services are needed, we will contact you”

Lenocap Today was the last day for most of the 120 staffers on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” who left with an early Christmas bonus check and no guarantee of a job when the strike ended. [An NBC source puts the number at “just under 100.”]

“Do we have a job when the strike ends? That’s what everyone keeps asking,” said one former staffer. “They’ve guaranteed no one a job. They just keep saying, ‘The letter explains it.”

That letter is a notice from NBC’s human resources department that says, “If your services are needed, we will contact you.”

Sources said that while some higher-level executives received severance packages, other staffers received only Leno’s traditional bonus of $100 times the number of years the staffer has been on the show.

Writers were not included in the bonuses, but one writer emphasized that “he’s not being Scrooge. He just wanted to get the staff taken care of first. I can’t emphasize enough how generous Jay is.” 

Others were less forgiving.

“We haven’t heard from him since the second or third day of the strike,” said a former Leno staffer. “He called on speakerphone while we were in our daily meeting and said, ‘Don’t look for other jobs, no one’s going to lose their house, we’ll get though this.’ Two weeks ago, we got the heads up that we had two more weeks (of pay) and that’s it. Everyone wondered, ‘Is Jay going to come through?’ And nothing happened. Conan makes less and he said, ‘I’m going to pay for my people.’ ”

Still on the payroll are the exec producers and a skeleton crew to answer phones. Leno was not on hand for the layoffs. Instead, Leno’s assistant notified the staff yesterday that they would get their Christmas bonus early. Leno’s bonuses usually go out the week before Christmas.   

“People are devastated today because we thought that he meant something more than an early Christmas bonus,” another said. “A lot of people didn’t look for other work, based on Jay’s assurances.”

UPDATE: Insiders confirm that the staff of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” were formally laid off by NBC today as well; the show’s employees received similar letters to the ones sent to “Tonight Show” staffers. Like “Tonight Show’s” team, “Late Night” employees are officially laid off effective Friday. But as has been reported previously, O’Brien will continue to pay “Late Night” staffers himself. But because they’re no longer officially employed by NBC, they won’t be reporting to the “Late Night” offices come Monday.

Late Friday afternoon, a spokesperson delivered this statement:

NBC regretfully informed the people who work on the Tonight
Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O’Brien that their
services are not needed at this time due to our inability to continue
production of the shows.

— Dave McNary and Dana Harris

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 95

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Brian says:

    Jay should buy everyone on his staff one of these for xmas:

  2. Big Bomb says:

    addressing Barry’s question above: this article was linked prominently on Drudge.
    It is funny how all the little buzz-words that reassure someone in an echo chamber suddenly have no meaning when applied in true dialog. Be gone, you have no power here!

  3. silversurfer says:

    Miles, I must have touched a nerve there. Oh well, the bottom line is you have no power over me. I am free to pick and choose the course of my existence and it seems that control freaks like our Miles here is upset that he can’t force me to view what he wants me to view. How’s it feel to be powerless Miles? May be better to let go and just handle your own life and realize that ther are quite a few people out here that just aren’t that affected by what others deem critical.

  4. Hoffa says:

    If it weren’t for the unions, we’d all be working 14 hour days for a bowl of Froot Loops and a boot in the ass when you slowed down. Figure it out, idiots… corporations do not care, they are psychopathic by nature. Wake up.

  5. Barry Champlain says:

    “Barry, I realize you’re an intellectual giant…”
    Yes, yes I am…
    “… because you’ve written two episodes of Desperate Housewives.”
    Again, it’s the “reading comprehension thing”, that’s been rearing its ugly head all over this thread. Never said that I was that writer…
    “And, I realize that since you are such a gifted writer that I don’t deserve to breath the same air as you.”
    And we really wish you’d stop, and take the rest of these assholes with you…
    “And, although I’m not as literate as you…”
    See? There IS a glimmer of understanding, beneath all that Dittoheadness…
    “… I am literate enough to realize that since I detected no remorse in your writing about people loosing their jobs…”
    It’s “LOSING”, dammit. “LOSING”…
    “… And, maybe you haven’t heard of your fellow union workers speak in such disdainful terms, is because they’ve said it behind your back.”
    Yessir, I can just picture electricians and stage hands and transportation people, etc. etc., being too timid to speak out at a Union gathering. Oh, that’s right, “timid” is what YOU do, in dealing with your tyrannical little middle management dicks, out there in Kansas* (* = elitist shorthand for all of you idiots, I will stipulate. But you brought it on yourselves, with your proud know-nothingness, and reactionary ignorance. And frankly, we’re all friggin’ sick and tired of you Jeebus-lovin’, O’Reilly-sucking, salt of the Earth types, claiming some type of Amurcun moral superiority, by sheer virtue of your dumbassitude, and the fact that Country music speaks to you. Or something)…
    “How any below the line worker could support an elitist snob like you is beyond me.”
    You’re not expected to. But, I am proud to support THESE workers. Because they ARE “real” workers, as much and as legit as any Wendy’s shift manager from Topeka, like you. And for the record: I am not one of them. Nice try, however…
    “But again, I not very smart.”
    Me agree.

  6. adam says:

    a lot of these sound like writers for the show with ‘liberals’ and ‘that’s rich’. LOL

  7. adam says:

    LBatis sounds like a leno writer

  8. Don in Chicago says:

    miles, you are the fool.
    these strikers seem to forget that they get their paycheck from the studio and NOT the union.
    Based on the “quality” of writing over the last few years, these cry babies are so grossly overpaid that that is the real joke.

  9. miles says:

    silversurfer, you are a fool.
    Right-wing Republican pro-robber baron union-busters, please desist posting until you learn when to use and not to use capital letters.
    I am not a writer. I am not a studio executive. But I read before I post, and I am aware of the very strong merit in the WGA’s demands against the studios.
    Learn something before cluttering up this board with idiocy.

  10. silversurfer says:

    I haven’t watched a “first-run” television program since the final episode of “Frasier” some 3 1/2 years ago. I haven’t been to a movie theatre in over 4 years, as a matter of fact, I haven’t even viewed a rented movie at home in just over three years. And no, I haven’t been incarcerated(but for the grace of God, there go I).
    It’s just that I viewed quite a bit of TV from 1969 until circa 1994 – 25 years of Miami Vice; Hawaii Five-O; Wiseguy; Homicide: Life on the Street; NYPD Blue; Highway to Heaven; Love, American Style; Mary Tyler Moore; All in the Family; Sanford & Son; Happy Days; L.A. Law; Crime Story; The Rockford Files; Star Trek; Columbo; Banacek; The Six Million Dollar Man; The Streets of San Francisco; The Courtship of Eddie’s Father; Julia; The Fugitive; The Wonderful World of Disney; Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom; et al. Not to mention all the reruns on “Nick at Nite” of the older classics like the Beverly Hilbillies; Andy Griffith; Green Acres; Twilight Zone, etc.. and lest I forget all the tremendous “old school” animated cartoons that were terrific “back in the day” I suppose that, someday, I may “seek refuge” in those forms of entertainment once again..I just found different interests over the past decade so, remarkably, this whole labor dispute hasn’t touched my life at the moment.
    I do understand and feel for those involved on all the various sides as they all have lives to lead and families to support. Hopefully, clear heads will prevail after the New Year and it will be a fair deal for all the various parties involved.
    In the meantime, I’ll be heading back over to – http://www.seedmagazine.com/news/2006/02/the_reinvention_of_the_self.php?page=all to continue my research into ‘neurogenesis’.
    If anybody out there is interested in more info on DIGITAL TELEVISION, just head on over to – http://www.dtv.gov/
    And if nuclear technology interests anybody, there’s – http://www.neimagazine.com/story.asp?sectioncode=132&storyCode=2041391 OR http://www.world-nuclear.org/education/whyu.htm
    How ’bout robots the size of a grain of sand – http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/science/smartdust.htm
    And if you want to check in on our little buddies “Spirit” and “Opportunity” who are probing the planet of Mars as we speak, there’s always that old stalwart – http://www.nasa.gov/
    I guess giving my cerebellum some excercise has trumped my interest in other aspects of life for the past few years. By the way, does anybody out there have any “grey matter” that there not really in need of? I’m about maxed out…but I’m sure grateful to all those teachers in my life who taught me how to learn.
    Happy Holidays to ALL, stay positive — upbeat — get out there and have some fun, DAMMIT!

  11. Frank says:

    Looks like all of Jay Leno’s usual reactionary, ignorantly conservative audience is out in force.
    You people couldn’t write a birthday card.
    And your understanding of this strike is wrong wrong wrong. Kind of like your votes for the Worst President In History.
    But hey, keep on being an idiot.

  12. Lo-L says:

    Wow, I guess the writers have time now to post here since they aren’t doing anything else.
    I am just a simple working non-union man, but here is my two cents.
    Jay was not obligated to give anything… The studio laid the workers off. Some may think he was not very generous, and that may be a valid point, but they can do with their money what they want, to gripe about another person’s money is communist.
    If the writers think they are so great, they should pool that union money together and start their own network. Find some dude among yourself with a big honking nose that seems to deliver a good straight line and put him/her to work.
    I don’t know how Bush got interjected into this argument, but it seems to play into this argument that when all we hear day in and day out is “stupid Bush” over and over like a broken record. If you think Bush is stupid and got to be President because of it, well your not doing yourself any favors.
    Someone earlier pointed out that Pat Robinson was a hypocrite because he backed Rudy (who obviously is liberal in many areas).. There is valid Bible verse that talks about this…Romans 3:8… and yes… it backs up that Pat is gonna be attacked for his position… and oddly enough, that that attack is valid. The poster may support the worse person in the world who may be 4X worse than Rudy, but it is valid to point out that Pat did a no-no supporting Rudy.
    West coast writers may not like it, but the fact that most American’s really can’t stand to view Cali politics without throwing up should come as no surprise to them. When you start forcing transsexuals into restrooms with your kids, not many this side of the Mississippi river care to view your politics as neutral.
    Oddly enough, I do remember one line some writer wrote for Jay Leno that struck a cord…
    “You know why Episcopal leaders don’t make good chess players? They can’t tell a Bishop from a Queen.” ~~ Jay Leno
    That was about the most conservative statement I ever heard on The Tonight Show… I guess the writer of that joke would of been fired if he replaced Hillary’s name in there instead of Episcopal. The good news for writers is that CNN is looking for more plants to place in the debates that describe themselves as neutral. There has to be a goldmine in fake news debate writing.

  13. Paul says:

    “Hay Jay, Can I I I I I answer the phones?

  14. McStud says:

    This is the execs final chance for a generation to get rid of residuals and keep the writers’ hard earned money for themselves. By pretending the internet is “promotional” and therefore not subject to payment (even though they make hundreds of millions in advertising directly from that “promotion”), when the internet and t.v. merge the execs can just “disappear” residuals altogether and keep all the cash for themselves.
    Writers aren’t stupid; they see this dirty trick a mile away. They were duped in 1988 with the 4 cents on a VHS tape sold, because the studios said the technology was “untested” and therefore nobody knew how much was to be made. The studios raked in the dough and shared a pittance with the actual creators. Now, even though DVD’s cost a fraction to produce the 4 cents on a $20 DVD still stands. That’s absurd. Downloads have hardly any production cost, and writers get nothing from that.
    When the internet replaces television and downloads replace DVD and syndication is a thing of the past, writers will receive exactly nothing for their work. It’s a future loophole that needs to be shored up now, not later.
    As technology changes exponentially and the paradigm dramatically shifts, the entertainment industry is having growing pains trying to update their economic models. In situations like this, there’s always unintentional consequences. Honest people will lose their jobs. But in the end, those jobs will still be there after the paradigm reforms.
    When the status of the creative people is strengthened, it strengthens the status of all those working in the industry around them. And although it’s tough and painful in the short term, in the long term it benefits everyone.
    As a proud American, I stand with the writers. And all other unions.

  15. John says:

    Barry @ 8:46pm
    Barry, I realize you’re an intellectual giant because you’ve written two episodes of Desperate Housewives. And, I realize that since you are such a gifted writer that I don’t deserve to breath the same air as you. And, although I’m not as literate as you, I am literate enough to realize that since I detected no remorse in your writing about people loosing their jobs, that you meant none. And, maybe you haven’t heard of your fellow union workers speak in such disdainful terms, is because they’ve said it behind your back. How any below the line worker could support an elitist snob like you is beyond me. But again, I not very smart.

  16. rablib says:

    The creative people almost always get screwed by the parasites that live off them. In this case the writers deserve a piece of the pie the parasites are eating from.
    I’m on the side of the writers. They actually create the product, so they should get something from it just like the others that market it.

  17. Sad State says:

    I work at NBC in relatively close proximity to these folks and I have to say that they are all nice, hard working people with families like most of you. This includes the writers, and the producers who just want to get this strike over with and get back to work. I have met Jay as well on several occasions and have also found him to be a very pleasant guy. I just want to say that I can’t wait to see you all back to work in the zig-zag hallways at NBC.

  18. Dan says:

    If a writer writes a book, he continues to get royalties as that book continues to sell amd make money for the publisher. SAME CONCEPT. the writer will continue to make money until he sells another book, article whatever. Writers aren’t employed ALL of the time. They need these royalties to get by, to pay their house payments and put food on the table for their kids!
    Jesus. Some of you people are so damn clueless it’s scary!

  19. Barry Champlain says:

    John @ 8:34:
    Well, it’s pretty obvious you’re not a writer :-)
    So, what profession are you in, where you don’t need to construct a sentence in basic English, but the strike of the TV and motion picture writers has caused you to lose your job?
    Staff of one of these television shows? No, they’re required to be literate, so THAT’S ruled out…
    Grips and technicians in studios? No, they’re all Union. And I really haven’t heard any other Hollywood workers speak in such disdainful terms about their fellow Union workers.
    We have a real mystery on our hands, here! Who are you? What do you do for a living? How did some dude who wrote a couple of “Desperate Housewives” scripts, cause your precious little Ashley to go without Christmas, this year?
    Know what I think? Yeah. I’ll bet you can guess.

  20. Dan says:

    Jay Leno is a liberal? Are you joking or just completely clueless? Leno is a right wing Bush supporting jerk-off. I can’t stand his insipid ass-kissing. the guy isn’t even close to being funny. Letterman should’ve had that gig.
    I support the strikers. They should be PAID for their work. You think ideas just appear from nowhere?

  21. Bugs Bigglesworth says:

    Right. SimplyImpossible, you chose to accept the relationship of allowing the company to own the patent. Oops. But it’s a false comparison, because this is not the relationship in the entertainment industry, and it never has been. Many industries have different criteria, but assuming the lowest common denominator as the norm is just incorrect. It makes no sense that because you think engineers get screwed that it follows everyone in all professions should as well is deeply cynical and self-defeating.
    Comparing yourself to writers is like comparing strippers to astronauts. the proverbial apple and orange. Writers are freelancers. They own their work. The person/company who “buys” it isn’t buying it in a one-time deal. They are essentially leasing your work from you because they think they can turn a profit from it. Often, that “lease” lapses, and the rights revert back to the writer. The way it’s worked for generations is that they give you some money for the rights to your work, and a promise to pay you a percentage of what it makes. Again, the market decides how much the writer gets paid. IT’S CALLED CAPITALISM. Get it through your thick skull. The. Market. Decides. How. Much. The. Writer. Gets. Paid. C. A. P. I. T. A. L. I. S. M. You don’t like it, move to North Korea.
    And well, golly, as an engineer, you certainly got a bum deal. It’s like at the onset of the engineer/company relationship you had little to no power or leverage to get anything but the bare minimum the company was willing to give you. And since that’s the way it is in the entire industry, you’re screwed. It’s like you don’ t have any representation. No weight to throw around. No power. No leverage whatsoever to get anything other than the scraps your employer is willing to throw your way. Gee, I wonder why that is. Probably because YOU HAVE NO UNION.
    Your retorts were about as compelling as an episode of “House of Carters”, and as intellectually reasonable as an episode of “Dice Rules”. Better get used to that kind of programming. Without the WGA, it’s all you’d see on T.V.
    Your last few remarks made little sense. “communist regim”[sic], “left leaning big thinkers”. These are nonsense terms. Stop licking your lips while listening to Beck and Savage and jerking off to the O’Reilly Factor. Come back to the Real World. Another reality show you better get used to. And yes, you are mistaken. Likely, in just about everything.
    “I hate myself when I have to sink to your intellectual level.”
    It’s amazing you think you have any intellectual level at all. You’ve yet to prove that to me, or back up your arguments with anything but nonsensical pinko baiting, unintentionally hilarious self-flagellation.
    “Sorry for the name calling. I know you left leaning big thinkers get hurt feelings easily.”
    Right back atcha. If you don’t support unions, you don’t support American workers. How unpatriotic of you. I didn’t know they had internet connections Pakistani caves nowadays.
    Now excuse me, I have to pick your pocket so I can have an abortion at my atheist pep rally while sensuously licking a picture of Lenin during an orgy at the reception for a gay marriage I officiated. (I’m just trying to visualize how you imagine me).

  22. John says:

    The writer’s made the decision to strike, and walk away from well paid jobs. Which directly lead to the layoffs and firing of thousands of hardworking American’s. It is not the corporations that fired me, it’s the writers! If they didn’t strike, I would be working right now. This Christmas, after I read my 10-year-old daughter Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” I will take her to a picket line and point out the true faces of selfishness and greed… the soul of the unreformed Scrooge marches on! Thank you for ruing Christmas!

  23. rabid right wing nut job says:

    Liberal Hollywood studios trying to bust a union composed of mostly liberals….this is rich!!!! So when it comes to ideology vs. cash, for liberals, cash wins hands down. Of course, that has always been their goal, to take money from those who work hard for it (the majority) and give it to those that don’t (the minority) and themselves (another minority) for catalyzing the transfer.
    Hey Jay, I’ll write for you for half what the writers were being paid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Fire their sorry asses!!!!

  24. AnotherFanSupportingTheWriters says:

    Wow–look at all the PR plants for the studios/networks posting here and slamming the writers! *This* is their answer to the broadbased support Americans have shown for the WGA and their strike? Babes, sorry to break it to you, but posting faux comments pretending to be Real Americans isn’t going to fool anyone. LOL at your transparent tactics.

  25. Barry Champlain says:

    SimplyImpossible… two things:
    1. What you are suggesting here is called a “work for hire”.
    Implying, as you certainly are, that Union writers of screenplays should all be subject to an agreement where they turn their work over and get paid once, like hard goods in a retail store, end of story… or “work for hire”… literally reverses every agreement to which writers and major studios have ever been parties.
    It does not even comprise the current area of conflict between WGA and the studios. Your philosophy is more radical than the ownership side of this dispute! You’re poo-pooh’ing an entire area of their relationship, that isn’t even under disagreement… YET. And THAT, my friend, is the point. The studios want to take work that is humming along merrily under a perfectly agreed-upon contract, and turn it over to be used a second time for FREE, on their profit-making websites.
    Sort of shoots capitalism in the face, doesn’t it? Which brings me to;
    2. What the hell is a “communist”? On a scale of 10, how much danger is our sparkling and wonderful American political system under, ya think, from being taken over by the “Communist Party”?
    Also… do you have their address and phone number? Where, exactly, might we actually FIND such a “Communist Party”?
    Honestly, I really don’t understand why this little website, from Variety and serving the professional entertainment industry, seems to have attracted all the rejects from the Little Green Freepers. WTF? Who gave them this URL?

  26. SimplyImpossible says:

    Hey Bugs, Sorry it took so long to get your post but I had to work. Just for the record as I have worked for 3M the engineer does NOT get a piece of the pie. The patent is held by 3M NOT the engineer. Now what was it you called me? Oh yeah. Friggen Idiot. So glad to know that education is still valued where you are from. Public school huh? Paid for by the rich 1% no doubt.
    Last time I checked working as an independent I got whatever I asked or I did not work. I did not need mommy holding my hand. Now who’s the bitch? Yeah you know it.
    If I am not mistaken you are the one that is living in the hopes that the communist regim will find its way here. That way I work my ass off while you pound the pud in the corner and get as many benifits as I do.
    I hate myself when I have to sink to your intellectual level. Sorry for the name calling. I know you left leaning big thinkers get hurt feelings easily.
    The bitch

  27. gotcha says:

    Ya know, I’m a right-wing nut job and reading some of these posts convinces me that some left-wing liberal loony writers are spending their current free time scabbing as right-wing nut jobs! It is over-the-top caricature and I’m calling you on it! So, fess up y’all!

  28. sig says:

    So if you’ve worked ten years on the show, your Christmas bonus is… $1000? Wow, Jay, I guess you need the rest of the money to pay for all those cars.

  29. Barry Champlain says:

    My, what an interesting site! It has apparently attracted the notice of every snarling, nazi 50 year-old delivery boy, typing away frantically with one hand in Mom’s basement.
    These comments show just how brainwashed too large a portion of the American citizenry is. These losers truly hate Unions; and, by extension, they hate America’s working people. They hate YOU. They somehow identify with the “everything for us; nothing for them” death-metal capitalists who have trashed the American workforce, and stolen this nation blind.
    AS IF any of these nobodies would ever join the class of exploiters they lionize. It’s sad, but most of all, it’s a Stockholm Syndrome mass sociopathy that bodes really badly for our country.

  30. Bugs Bigglesworth says:

    Uh, actually, SimplyImpossible, you miss the whole point. Your comparisons are as wrong headed as they are inane.
    The inventor of the glue DOES get a cut every time his patented invention is used by the company that uses it so long as the patent is valid. THAT’S WHY HE SECURES A PATENT. Friggin’ idiot.
    As far as the engineer, do you know of one engineer who designs every detail of a car? If so, I have a bridge to sell ya. Engineers hired by companies are usually working on a number of projects for a company and are paid regardless of output. Writers are not.
    Writers aren’t usually employed by a company. They’re independent contractors. Even if you’re lucky enough to be a staff writer for an established show, you’re still a contracted worker, and will be out of a job as soon as the show is canceled. The engineer will still have a job working on other projects once the car is out on the lot. As soon as the show ends, writers are unemployed.
    THAT’S WHY THEY NEED A UNION. To protect themselves from exploitation that DID occur pre-union and WILL occur again if the union is busted. Anyone who is rooting for working class writers to make LESS while the already rich management and owners make MORE is a sadistic asshole.
    Writers, even those working for studios or networks, are considered independent, and that’s why they don’t get benefits, and they’re out of a job if the show isn’t picked up. Where do they get health benefits for themselves, their family and children? FROM THEIR UNION!
    As far as “find another job”, Hollywod is a pseudo-monopoly. You don’t want to work for one of several big entertainment corporations? You don’t get to work as a writer. It’s not just a matter of “finding another job.”
    And as far as missing the point, as you obviously have no idea how writing for the entertainment industry works, let me break down the idea of residuals for you. The writer is a freelancer trying to get his work purchased. When he finds someone who’s interested in the work, it’s purchased. But because it’s a CREATIVE property, the actual value of the work is unknown at the time of purchase. So a stipend is offered to the writer with the agreement of residuals, i.e. the writer will get paid only if his work generates income. When the market decides how much the writer’s work is worth, the writer gets paid. If the market decides the work is worth a lot, the writer gets paid a lot. If the market decides the work isn’t worth anything, the writer gets squat. IT’S CALLED FREE MARKET CAPITALISM, bitch.
    Now of course, because many studio executives are a bunch of slimy, untrustworthy, evil scumbags, a movie screenwriter will insist on the bulk of the money up front. If they wait on the backend for a percentage of “net”, they will make exactly nothing because those slimy scumbag execs will use ENRON accounting to “prove” the movie never broke even. It’s happened to friends of mine. But when it comes to T.V. writers, the only way for them to survive is to get money through residuals, a small pittance that’s kicked back to them each time the show is viewed. If the show isn’t viewed, the writer doesn’t get any money. The market works. You don’t like it, move to communist China.

  31. Done with unions says:

    I agree with the principle behind the strike but feel the WGA is going about it thuggishly and in a way that may backfire. However, WGA is nothing compared to the arrogance of SAG.
    I hired both one SAG actor and four non-SAG actors for a recent television production. The SAG actor bitched and moaned throughout the entire shoot, and his footage is unusable. Meanwhile, I had to pay him salary, health and pension “just because”.
    I will never do it again. I am done with unions and hope other studios move to Right To Work states and follow suit.

  32. just the facts, maam says:

    OK, reality check. John Ball died in 1988, the same year the TV series started. Are you suggesting that the studios stole the rights to the book from him?! That he received no payment for it? There are multiple ways to be paid including being paid more upfront with no back-end profit payments. What was typical in the 60’s regarding payments? Before spewing forth some crazy statement to support your position, take a breath and lay out all the facts. I have no qualms with labeling the corporations as greedy, just as I lay the same blame with the writers. Distorted facts just add to the polarization of the two sides and make the process more difficult.

  33. mimi says:

    “John Ball wrote a novel called “In the Heat of the Night.” Film, two sequels, and a television series. MGM/UA earned millions of dollars off his work. How much of the profits did he get paid? Zilch.”
    This is worth repeating, but I suspect the brain-dead among you still won’t get it. I suspect you would like to see slavery re-instituted. How anyone can gloss over the MEGA HUGE profits these companies are making and in the same breath call the writers greedy…. GREEDY???? This goes way beyond sublime ridiculous proportions. This is out and out WILLFUL IGNORANCE. This is the same mindset that had Karl Rove swearing that Congress forced the Bush Administration into war with Iraq. This is also known as GASLIGHTING.
    Also, this notion that writers are millionaires? This would be funny if it wasn’t so painfully untrue. Not saying that there aren’t some wealthy writers out there, but the rank and file are your basic Joe/Joan Neckbones trying to make a living in a crazy business doing what they love and are talented at. In case you haven’t heard, the writers have been working in good faith while the moguls have basically punked them for years. (The last strike was 1988)
    Like others have pointed out, the unions are certainly not perfect. But it wasn’t the unions that chased work out of the USA. It was the greedy owners who always want MORE than their fair share, just for being the boss. And this is why we have toys filled with lead, date-rape drugs, toothpaste with poison, and clothing made on the blood sweat and tears of children. But it sounds like many of you want to go back to that civilization that is Gone With The Wind.
    Thanks, but, no thanks.

  34. SimplyImpossible says:

    Writer who’s right,
    I will tell you what. IF you allow that the top 1% of the rich in the country only have to pay the same percent of taxes that the bottom 1% pay I will say your argument has some merit. The top 1% pay about 80% of all of Americas Bills. So stop and think about or at least learn how much each American would have to pay if they all paid equal shares. Just because someone earns more does not mean that he uses the roads more or the schools or the police or fire more. So why should he have to pay more? So people like you left leaning(since you bashed Bush I am only guessing)can keep getting without earning?

  35. Mitchell says:

    Most of you ignorant fucking morons have no clue what the strike’s about or how writer’s are paid. The best you can do is keep your ignorance a secret. Stop posting… maybe no one will find out.

  36. SimplyImpossible says:

    Well, I can see that a lot of people miss the whole point. Does the engineer who designs a car get paid for every car of that model that is sold? No, they do not. Does the inventor of the glue that goes on the sticky pad get a cut of every item that the glue is used on? Nope. So why should a writer that is employed by a company get something special? Unless he is an independent he should not. As they are on strike I am guessing they are employees that need to get back to work so they can bring home a paycheck. I go to work, do a good job. When I no longer like working here or find my boss is too stupid to live I will get another job. If I need more money and I am worth it, I ask the boss for a raise. If no raise comes and I am worth it I head out.
    Nuff Said

  37. Writer who's Right says:

    Wow. The Bush kool aid drinkers are out in full force. Like your President, you have no sense of history. This isn’t just about a writer’s strike, it’s about what’s happening to the country. The current Robber Barons, i.e., multi-national conglomerates, have more control over all our lives every day.
    It’s amazing that rather than blame the
    There are less union members because of these conglom’s collective union busting. The ultimate result is that the pendulum will swing back in a New Deal sort of way.
    Do you Bushies celebrate the fact that the disparity between rich and poor grows every day? Or that 1% of the population has 99% of the wealth. If you like it, then you should move to a banana republic.
    All the writers are asking for is a fair shake. When the congloms make money off of new media, which will very soon replace old media in delivery of profit, then all the people who participated in creating that content should share in the revenue.

  38. Sporty says:

    Americans should put their actions and efforts where their mouth is, simple Boycott their shows and sponsors.
    The controllers of our nation only understand money which gives people power.
    Cut the source of power boycott..

  39. Sporty says:

    Republicans really are the lowest pit in a pile of s…. as anyone can tell, by the words and actions.
    Republicans lead by Bush and Cheney have destroyed our citizen’s jobs, benefits, democracy and the rights of ciiizens to keep, hold or be paid a livable wage to survide on.
    They bitch and say other people of different religions, are being aggressive and pushing their beliefs and ideas on others, but when you look at what the say & do they are really talking about themselves when they speak out.
    They are hypocritical in what they say they believe in.
    If you read the ten commandments, they are breaking one or more every time they open mouth.
    They claim they are against abortion and extramarital affairs, divorce and adultery, but Pat Robertson comes out of the closet and endorses Rudy Giuliani who has affairs while married to another, and re-married 4 or 5 times.
    Talk about hypocracy, I don’t know how they can stand themselves.

  40. JC says:

    Ha! I love the comments from all the middle American, middle class, schmucks! So angry that ‘there ain’t been no new According to jim episodes in months!’ Galldamm faggot jew hollywood liberals! Why dont they get off their ivery tower limousines and install some pipe fittin’s like me and work a real job and let the damn networks get my galldam CSI back on the galldamm air! dam crybaby jew hollywood elitist fagots should be HAPPY to be givin their writin’s away fer free! Whats writin’s good fer anyway?! Damn jew faggots commie lib cappachino sippin new york elitists!

  41. LBattis says:

    Fine; I’ll boycott the Tonight Show until it’s turned over to Conan.

  42. Bugs Bigglesworth says:

    Wow- I could only get through the first 20 or so comments before I quit reading. The righteous indignation and petulant, willful ignorance of these posters is truly astounding.
    You don’t like unions? Move to Iran, asswipes. Unions are as American as Norman Rockwell and Apple Pie. Contrary to your bizarre and twisted logic, when you don’t support unions you don’t support American workers. Period.
    Laziness? Greedy? These are the alleged traits being criticized in union members, yet not a peep about these traits in the ranks of management, executive and owners. This is called hypocrisy, numbskulls. That, or you’re too stupid to connect the dots of your own reasoning.
    The problem is that no organization is perfect, including unions. But like management, or lawyers, or insurance- they are far from perfect, have flaws, need improvement, BUT ARE NECESSARY.
    The entertainment industry from its roots was built on the backs of hucksters and hustlers; the movie industry rose up from patent violators from the East coast running as far away as possible to escape paying Thomas Edison for his work.
    From the beginning the entertainment industry has been run by criminals. Today is no different, it’s just a little slicker in its package. Some areas of our economy can function successfully without unions. Others cannot. The majority of people in the entertainment industry cannot survive, pay the rent and feed their families without the unions UNLESS the basic fabric of how business is done in Hollywood changes.
    And it won’t change. It is essentially a functioning pseudo-monopoly. Several monolithic companies work together to control the entire industry. If you don’t play ball, you have ZERO leverage, and you become an indentured servant with no chance of a middle class life. The only leverage to create a living wage is to band together to ensure the entertainment industry doesn’t devolve to resemble major league baseball before free agency, where players were exploited for little pay and the owner kept it all. Today MLB is big business, and despite the huge salaries of the players, the owners still make a profit. Same goes for performers and writers. Payment for what the work is worth is only secured if those creating band together to make sure of it. That means unions, assholes.
    So get off your high horse. Unions, while never perfect, are not “communist” or innately bad. Never have been. Never will be. Your opposition to them is pathetic. When the strike is over, those staff jobs will be right there waiting. I have friends in L.A. losing their jobs and they still support the strike. One is a script reader who was laid off because of the writers’ strike, and he’s picketing along with the writers. I support the strike, and all patriotic Americans should, too.

  43. KW says:

    This is a very disturbing result for those of us who are below the line employees. The actions of the network (not specifically Jay Leno) are troubling. We do need to hear from Jay Leno very soon and find out what his role in this action was.
    The people being fired have nothing to do with the strike.
    To fire them is very underhanded and unfair. Laying them off with a promise of a job when things return is what they should have done.
    The writers are fighting for the share of the revenue that they deserve. If a company like Disney can afford a $140 million golden parachute for someone like Mike Ovitz after only 15 months, they can afford the demands of the writers guild (as well as the resulting increases when the other unions demand the same.

  44. lm945 says:

    You people just don’t get it.
    The writers are striking because the networks and the studios don’t want to pay them a reasonable wage for their work, while they (the studios & networks) rake in the profits.
    Right now, writers are paid roughly $0.05 for every dvd sold. Five whole cents. Considering how much we, the consumers, are paying, do you really think that’s a fair share?
    Those of us who are out of work because of the strike (yes, that includes me) are not whining about being out of work. We support the writers.
    Think about it. Those of us most effected by the strike support it. If we’re for it, why aren’t you?
    John Ball wrote a novel called “In the Heat of the Night.” Film, two sequels, and a television series. MGM/UA earned millions of dollars off his work. How much of the profits did he get paid? Zilch.
    Fair? I don’t think so.

  45. Don in Missouri says:

    I used to be a supervisor over Teamsters. I’m not a big fan of Unions. Why? There’s not a big difference between them and the corporate big dogs. Both will take advantage if they can. What you need is a balance of power. To have that, you must have unions. To call the Writer’s Union “Communists” and whatnot is simply disguised anti-blue collar sentiment coming out. To dump on these people and then praise those who protest in Venzuela is simply misinformed. Chavez may be a bully jerk, but at least he helps the many, many poor in Venzuela, who get taken advantage of as happens all over South America by the few priviledged in power. Maybe if they showed a bit of compassion and decency they would not have to deal with Chavez and before that the Perons. All they would have to do is show a little fairness and they could keep people who try to spread the wealth of the country to the poor from power.

  46. byram says:

    Looks like some people here can’t read. It’s $100 for every year they were with Leno. That’s a lot more than their union is probably giving them.

  47. Don in Missouri says:

    Lordy! Jay Leno the big comedian gives out $100 bonuses for each year worked? I had to reread that, couldn’t believe it.
    And why doesn’t he write his own material? Or just be witty for an interview? Are the writers really the brains behind the pretty faces? I thought it was just George Bush we had to worry about here, the “acting president”.
    It amazes me at all the hostility here for the people of the Writer’s Union, who are out on a limb here without a paycheck. All the uncertainty just before Christmas, and they are geting crucified here on this blog. All they ask for is their fair share from the big execs in the big houses…sometimes you really do have to band together to get a little leverage and a little justice… St. Charles, Missouri

  48. Bert says:

    Those on strike are responsible for these layoffs.
    The trickle down effect is just begining.

  49. cowan says:

    I’m not a huge fan of unions, but I can’t believe some of the comments here. Callings the writers communists–jesus christ! Read a book once in a while. Red-baiting just looks silly in this day and age. Going on about how criminal and immoral “liberals” are is just sad. Take a look at who’s looting this country–certainly not liberals. Liberals didn’t start this illegal war we’re in the middle of. Liberals haven’t given out no-bid contracts to mercenaries and assassins. Get educated, people.
    Also, I’d like to point out that the writers are just looking to get paid for the work they do the same way anyone else would. If you write a song, you get paid every time that song gets airplay. Why don’t TV and movie writers get the same treatment? By the way, the WGA provides health insurance to its members–something the producers aren’t always offering writers. They still pay for it–don’t go off on a rant about socialized medicine or whatever your arguement against the right to healthcare is these days–they pay for the insurance, but it is offered through the guild. For any other gripe you have, I challenge you to make Jay Leno funny five nights a week. Not an easy task.

  50. Glenn Fox, La Mirada, CA says:

    Jay is finding it so hard to be true to his liberal diatribe monolog he shouts each night on his show, but now is finding out how difficult it is to run your company the way he speaks;
    Come on Jay, Just Have the Clinton Everything for Free and You Pay for it Jay; It takes a village and you are the checking account….Just Pay Your Troops and be Liberal like you Preach Each Night, It Is Only Money $$$$$$……..Not So Funny When It Is Your Money Jay and Not Ours They Are Giving Away!!!

More Biz News from Variety