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Showrunners United: Get back, and we’ll go back

There’s news from the showrunner front.

After today’s rally at Disney, the hyphenates held a long meeting at WGA HQ. They’re not backing down, but they did appear to come to a consensus to try to use whatever leverage they have to woo studios back to the negotiating table.

For now, they’re staying off the job — and writing is out of the question until a settlement is reached. But, “We will gladly return to our (showrunner) jobs the day that the producers return to the negotiating table,” said one person who was at the meeting.

Move seems designed to send the nets and studios a message: If you start bargaining, we’ll help finish up the scripts we’ve already written. Of course, most shows will run out of scripts in a few weeks, which means the offer has an expiration date.

Hyphenates also vowed to stay unified if the studios decide to sue them for breach. “We pledged that if anyone gets sued for breach, then we’re going to stand by them. We won’t go back to work unless those suits are dropped,” the source said.

Showrunners began their powwow with lunch at Burbank’s The Smokehouse. When it became clear there were too many of them to have a meeting at a restaurant, they opted to head to WGA HQ.

CBS Par and 20th have started sending out sternly worded breach letters to showrunners who’ve been absent from sets. Earlier in the week, studios suspended a number of overall deals with both writers and non-writing producers.

A WGA spokesman did not return a call seeking comment.

–Josef Adalian

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