The first casualty of war is … the writers lounge?
With contentious negotiations between the WGA and producers set to resume Sept. 19, the scribe tribe seems to be stoking fires all over town, including their own headquarters.
Guild leaders said last week they’re booting writers out of the first-floor space at WGA West headquarters commonly used to shmooze or work on projects to use it as a strategy room. “If we don’t set up a potential strike headquarters, our intentions will look wobbly,” says negotiating committee member Dan Wilcox.
And on Aug. 28 — the same day it agreed to relaunch contract negotiations, the WGA joined the pile-on against CBS reality series “Kid Nation,” blasting it not just for alleged mistreatment of child participants but as emblematic of how reality producers abuse talent via illegal overtime and a lack of meal breaks.
“Kid Nation” showrunner Tom Forman denied the allegations and says he’s suprised the WGA had taken the shot, since the show doesn’t use writers.
But the WGA is looking to gain jurisdiction over reality shows at the bargaining table, and the move was a clear warning shot.
Ironically, the only quiet front over at the WGA is its upcoming elections. In contrast to previous votes, the 22 candidates on this year’s ballot have refrained from any but the mildest criticism of current WGA leadership. The only sizzle in the relatively thin booklet of statements are a few barbs directed at the studios and networks.
Not surprisingly, they describe the companies as “rapacious” and “sharks.”