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TV stars join Hollywood writers' strike
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08:28, November 14, 2007

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TV stars joined Hollywood writers on the picket lines on Tuesday as the strike by the writers enters its eighth day, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) said.

Dubbed "Picketing with the Stars," some 100 actors from about 30 shows picketed at Universal Studios beginning at noon, according to the WGA.

They include Bill Paxon ("Big Love"), Nicollette Sheridan ("Desperate Housewives"), Ray Romano ("Everybody Loves Raymond") and George Lopez("George Lopez Show").

The WGA is on strike in a dispute over future revenue from shows distributed over the Internet and other new media.

The strike started last Monday after the WGA contract expired and negotiations stalled. No new talks are scheduled.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on Monday took out ads in Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter headlined "Setting the Record Straight..."

The ads asserted that the WGA knows, and its own records prove, that writers are already paid residuals on permanent digital downloads and pay-per-view digital downloads, and that "this additional compensation was part of more than 260 million dollars in record-breaking residuals paid to WGAW members in 2006.

The ad went on to state that, "when the WGA went on strike, an offer to pay writers for Internet streaming was on the table."

The WGA responded with a statement claiming the producers are trying to roll back benefits to writers regarding new media.

"The AMPTP told us in negotiations that new media was going to cannibalize traditional media," Neal Sacharow, WGA West director of communications, said in the statement. "Therefore, writers need a fair residual formula just to keep up. The proposals the companies brought to the table would decimate writers' incomes."

Daily TV talk shows have been hit hard by the strike, and many other programs have also stopped production without writers to provide dialogue. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has urged both sides to settle their differences quickly. He said the strike was already having a major impact on the state's economy.

A WGA strike in 1988 was the last to cause a major disruption in the entertainment industry. It lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry an estimated 500 million dollars.

The WGA claims about 12,000 members, about 4,000 of whom are in New York.

Source: Xinhua

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