In times of war, it doesn’t take much to trigger an explosive reaction. Like, maybe, a press release.
Last week, the WGA issued a statement in which it claimed “the companies had requested a four-day break (in late November) so they could work on their proposals.” It was a reference to the Nov. 29 break in the talks, which at the time was reported as having come at the request of the Guild.
When one leader of an AMPTP saw that the Guild was now saying the companies had asked for the break, he nearly lost it.
“There were 20 showrunners in that room who knew that was a blatant, out and out lie about a simple fact,” the exec said.
“For (the WGA) to write that in a press release shows that they’ve been told that lying to the core (membership) is one of the basic tools of a strike.”
The exec said last week’s press released shattered whatever little faith he had in the idea that the WGA was serious about striking a deal.
“It comes down to basic human relationships,” he said.
While many in the WGA have speculated that the studios want to prolong the strike– after all, it was the studios that broke off talks– this leader argued the AMPTP is now convinced the Guild leadership wants to keep the picket lines going.
“I think they think that the longer they drag it out, they’re more they’re gonna bring us to our knees,” he said. He added that the “level of rancor on our side is so high now, even among the moderates.”
Execs now seem to be hoping that some key scribes—particularly showrunners—will break ranks from the Guild.
“Until there are some writers who decide to really stand up for our community, we’re dead,” he said.
The suit also didn’t seem to have much hope that CAA’s Bryan Lourd– who helped get the parties talking after the last breakdown– will have much luck this time. He had high praise for the tenpercenter, however.
“Bryan worked his ass off,” he said. “He’ll never admit this, but he’s so frustrated. I don’t think he knows what to do.”
So what’s next? The exec warned of dire consequences if the strike isn’t settled soon.
“A couple years from now they’re gonna look up and see there’s more reality TV than ever. And David Young will be out organizing some other group.
“I know they think they’re fighting for future writers. But the writers of the future will suffer for many, many years to come because of the actions of this guild.”