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Writers strike: Showrunners’ show of force

Writersstrikedis

Sadly, editing chores kept me in the office this a.m. For comprehensive coverage from Variety’s Josef Adalian and Michael Schneider of the rally that brought out a who’s-who of showrunners, check out Variety’s Scribe Vibe strike blog.

Our cause is worth the fight. That’s the message top showrunners plan to send to the nets and studios this morning (Wednesday) with a Very Special Episode of picketing outside of ABC’s HQ in Burbank.

A strong turnout of high-powered types is expected to gather along West Alameda Avenue in an effort to demonstrate loud and clear that TV’s ultimate multitaskers have thrown down their pencils and every other tool they use to deliver their segs under normal circumstances.

I’ve no doubt there’ll be fists of fury in the air, lots of clever placards, quippy chanting and shouting into bullhorns. Showrunners have rallied with a surprising degree of solidarity around the belief that the contract talks with invariably be spurred along that much faster if production comes to a grinding halt this week.

Of course, there’s been scoffs in many quarters about how some of the most successful folks in showbiz have suddenly gotten in touch with their inner blue-collar worker (and their scruffiest pair of jeans) to walk the picket lines that they drive to in Mercedes and BMWs from digs in Brentwood and Bel-Air.

But for others, the very fact that writers who are well off enough already to shrug their shoulders at a few pennies worth of residual hikes only proves that the picketing is more than money, (though it is surely about money). For the high-earners on the picket lines, it’s about fairness, respect and recognition, something many feel they’ve had none of since the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers came to the table in July with a residuals revamp proposal that was instantly seen as an “attack” on the decades-old compensation formulas that keep film and TV scribes afloat between gigs.

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