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Writers strike: Showrunners swaying the script

Wga1120rallyrhimesThe real value of a good script in this town hinges not on the eloquence of the prose or the cleverness of the plot but in its execution from page to screen. Nobody understands this Hollywood truism better than television showrunners; it’s the challenge they tackle with every week.

As such, it comes as no surprise that these multitasking members of Writers Guild of America should have played such a pivotal role in the first and second acts of the scribe strike of ’07. The determination of a wide swath of showrunners shut the biz down, for all intents and purposes, in a hurry in the first 72 hours after the strike began on Nov. 5. And by many accounts, it was the growing restlessness of many of the same showrunners last week that prodded both the studios and the guild off of their rhetorical high horses to agree to resume formal negotiations on Monday.

“The showrunners were the tip of the spear in this fight,” said a top tenpercenter who’s been piped into the backchannel discussions among scribes, CEOs and top agency partners during the past fortnight of discontent.

(Pictured above: “Grey’s Anatomy” star Sandra Oh marches with “Grey’s” showrunner Shonda Rhimes, to Oh’s right, and “Back to You” co-creator/exec producer Steve Levitan, on Rhimes’ right, during WGA’s Tuesday march and rally on Hollywood Boulevard. Below, the march at its peak covered three blocks. Pics by Matthew Simmons/WireImage)

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