Wednesday, November 14, 2007

More on the Strike from the Wall Street Journal

In the strike's second week, signs have emerged that some writers may be planning to break ranks. Some of the writers for at least one soap opera, CBS Corp.'s "The Young and the Restless," went "financial core," meaning they gave up their status as guild members this week, with plans to return to writing, according to a person close to the show. Other soap writers are considering following their lead -- or writing in secret -- to keep their jobs and their shows on the air, this person said.

Late last week, the WGA posted on its Web site a phone number to report "strike-breaking activities and scab writing" to the guild's 12-person Strike Rules Compliance Committee. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiates on behalf of studios, responded yesterday with a statement that said, "Asking members to inform on each other and creating a blacklist of those who question the tactics of the WGA leadership is as unacceptable today as it was when the WGA opposed these tactics in the 1950s."

Soap operas face perhaps the most imminent peril during the strike. Their audiences have been shrinking for years, repeats draw low viewership, they rarely sell on DVDs and there are few channels for Internet distribution. Writers and producers in the genre fear that by the time the strike finishes, their audiences won't return.

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