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Ask A Striking Writer

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Ask A Striking Writer

Kutner: Well, um, the conventional wisdom is that either it will be settled in the next few weeks -- what the networks will need to do in order to sort of save the season -- or, if not then, they could sort of write the whole thing off and try to wait us out until possibly the spring, or even as late as June, which is when the Screen Actors Guild contract runs out, and at that point, the Screen Actors Guild has been very supportive of us, and has been on the picket line, you've probably seen the celebrities appearing with us -- they will certainly go on strike, for pretty much the same issue, and when they do it, studios literally can't put anything else on the air. So, at that point they'll have to deal with us, but their idea would be to try to sort of wear us out until then, and hope that we'll either settle for another deal or just give up on it.

Sars: Which do you think it is at this point?

Kutner: It is really hard to say, because on the one hand you've got the six corporations that own everything, which by contrast with the 1988 strike, which is the last time we've struck, which is like, you know, 30 or 40 different companies that we were sort of in negotiations with, this is six companies that have other holdings. You know, it's Disney, it's FOX, it's GE, so they have other income streams and they can sort of try to make do without us right now, so on the one hand you've got that sort of implacable negotiating counterpart, and on the other hand, a tremendous upswell of public support, which goes beyond what I ever expected. The celebrities, you know about that, have really come out in force, which I think is extraordinary, and also I think on the blogosphere and the web, there's just real -- there's been a real strong show of support. I just saw that 17 entertainment blogs are gonna go dark next Tuesday ["actually the day after we spoke, November 13" -- Sars] and just put up a WGA solidarity banner, which, I don't know if it's the most directly practicable solution, but it definitely shows that, like, there's a sort of grassroots campaign going on out there, and I think that in the sort of -- well, with the internet, you know, anything's possible, like, people brought back Jericho, and you know, by definition, not enough -- not that many people were watching it.

Sars: Right.

Kutner: So, you know, if enough determined sort of...and using the power of the internet, can do that, I'd like to think, optimistically, that -- that people who are fans of all the TV shows, all the scripted TV shows united, could be very powerful. And beyond that, there's some other parties who have an interest in sort of brokering a peace -- among them the agents, in L.A., who are really taking this the hardest, because their income is drying up and they're firing people. And also, you know, I think people have talked about Arnold Schwarzenegger and other people who are aware of how this could cripple the sort of Southern California economy, not to mention the U.S. economy in general would have an interest in sort of getting the two sides back to the table -- those are all grounds for optimism, for me, but like I said, no one really knows right now, it really could go either way.

Sars: If the strike is still going on in, say, February or March, do you think that's going to change anything in terms of -- for your position in the public arena, and also do you think that'll change the strikers' enthusiasm for the project? Like, on your part, for yourself, is that going to change anything as time goes on and bills are really starting to pile up?

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Mondo Extra

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Mondo Extra
Ask A Striking Writer

Episode Report Card
Grade It Now!
YOU GRADE IT
Ask A Striking Writer

Kutner: Well, um, the conventional wisdom is that either it will be settled in the next few weeks -- what the networks will need to do in order to sort of save the season -- or, if not then, they could sort of write the whole thing off and try to wait us out until possibly the spring, or even as late as June, which is when the Screen Actors Guild contract runs out, and at that point, the Screen Actors Guild has been very supportive of us, and has been on the picket line, you've probably seen the celebrities appearing with us -- they will certainly go on strike, for pretty much the same issue, and when they do it, studios literally can't put anything else on the air. So, at that point they'll have to deal with us, but their idea would be to try to sort of wear us out until then, and hope that we'll either settle for another deal or just give up on it.

Sars: Which do you think it is at this point?

Kutner: It is really hard to say, because on the one hand you've got the six corporations that own everything, which by contrast with the 1988 strike, which is the last time we've struck, which is like, you know, 30 or 40 different companies that we were sort of in negotiations with, this is six companies that have other holdings. You know, it's Disney, it's FOX, it's GE, so they have other income streams and they can sort of try to make do without us right now, so on the one hand you've got that sort of implacable negotiating counterpart, and on the other hand, a tremendous upswell of public support, which goes beyond what I ever expected. The celebrities, you know about that, have really come out in force, which I think is extraordinary, and also I think on the blogosphere and the web, there's just real -- there's been a real strong show of support. I just saw that 17 entertainment blogs are gonna go dark next Tuesday ["actually the day after we spoke, November 13" -- Sars] and just put up a WGA solidarity banner, which, I don't know if it's the most directly practicable solution, but it definitely shows that, like, there's a sort of grassroots campaign going on out there, and I think that in the sort of -- well, with the internet, you know, anything's possible, like, people brought back Jericho, and you know, by definition, not enough -- not that many people were watching it.

Sars: Right.

Kutner: So, you know, if enough determined sort of...and using the power of the internet, can do that, I'd like to think, optimistically, that -- that people who are fans of all the TV shows, all the scripted TV shows united, could be very powerful. And beyond that, there's some other parties who have an interest in sort of brokering a peace -- among them the agents, in L.A., who are really taking this the hardest, because their income is drying up and they're firing people. And also, you know, I think people have talked about Arnold Schwarzenegger and other people who are aware of how this could cripple the sort of Southern California economy, not to mention the U.S. economy in general would have an interest in sort of getting the two sides back to the table -- those are all grounds for optimism, for me, but like I said, no one really knows right now, it really could go either way.

Sars: If the strike is still going on in, say, February or March, do you think that's going to change anything in terms of -- for your position in the public arena, and also do you think that'll change the strikers' enthusiasm for the project? Like, on your part, for yourself, is that going to change anything as time goes on and bills are really starting to pile up?

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Mondo Extra

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