A United Struggle: Cast and Crews Come Together to Support the WGA in 2007 Strike

Cynthia Littleton’s book, TV on Strike: Why Hollywood Went to War over the Internet, provides an in-depth look at the Writers Guild of America’s strike of 2007. The strike began at midnight on November 5, 2007 after a long day of contract negotiations that left the WGA feeling frustrated. The catalyst for the strike, that would last until mid-February, was the lack of compensation for online-viewing sales; the Internet posed a problem for writers seeking fair compensation in the midst of an emerging Internet age. The WGA panicked, remembering how they were left out of VCR/VHS sales in 1988 and didn’t want to have the same experience this time around. Instead this strike focused on the future generations. Littleton quotes Mike Scully, a writer-producer on The Simpsons, in her work, who said, “There was much more unity within the guild and an overall feeling that we were doing the right thing not only for ourselves, but for future generations of writers” (Littleton, 34). In fact, the unity between writers, famous actors and other key players in the industry made the strike all the more successful. The support shown by producers, actors, and other production crew members who refused to cross the picket line to go to work demonstrated how everyone in the industry, regardless of status, was interested in joining this fight against corporate gain at the artists’ expense. The video below featuring Tina Fey is a good example of how entertainers felt at the time:

As Littleton explains, “Actors who made statements in support of the WGA were quick to note that their union, the Screen Actors Guild, would soon be battling the same issues, as SAG’s contract covering film and TV work was due to expire in June 2008” (Littleton, 36). This quote and the video above show how important the success of this strike was to all industry members.

Cast and crew members of various popular television shows took stood together in solidarity with the writers that made their shows so successful. Steve Carell‘s involvement in the strike for example showed that the WGA and their supporters meant business. As the lead character on the popular comedy, The Office, his refusal to go to work packed a punch, as did his claim that he couldn’t come into work because he suffered from “enlarged balls” (Littleton, 35). The rest of the cast and crew got involved when the executive producer of the show, Greg Daniels, gathered his staff writers to shut down a location shoot (Littleton, 35). The moment can be seen in this video here:

Due to the collective struggle of actors, writers, and producers alike, the WGA came out victorious and called off the strike on February 12, 2008.

Source:

Littleton, Cynthia. TV On Strike: Why Hollywood Went to War Over the Internet. Syracuse University Press, 2013. Print.

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