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Timeline of the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike: Wikis


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2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike
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Effects on Television

This is a timeline of events related to the 100-day Writers Guild of America strike that began on Monday, November 5, 2007, and ended on February 12, 2008.





November 26

The Writers Guild of America announce that they are starting negotiations during Summer 2007.[1]



May 14–17

NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and The CW announce their 2007 fall schedules at the annual upfront presentations.[2] These schedules have heavy amounts of reality programming due to debut midseason in preparation for the writers strike.[3]


July 16

The WGA and the AMPTP begin negotiations only to abruptly end within a few days.[4]


September 19

The WGA and AMPTP resume negotiations which last until October 7.


October 22

Leaders and members of the Writers Guild of America, West and Writers Guild of America, East meet to authorize a possible strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers if negotiations over a new contract break down. 90.3% of the guild vote to authorize picket lines.[5]

October 25

Negotiations resume again between the Writers' Guild and the producers.

October 31

The current WGA contracts with AMPTP expires.[6]


November 1

Talks between the WGA and AMPTP at the Los Angeles Convention Center break down after a week of negotiations [7].

November 2

WGAE and WGAW announces that the strike would begin at 12:01 AM on November 5.[8][9]

November 4

In a last-ditch conciliation to try to avoid the strike, the WGA temporarily withdrew its DVD proposal, but the companies still insisted on a lack of residual for new media.[10] Talks subsequently broke down, with both sides accusing the other of walking out.[11]

November 5

Strike activity officially begins at 12:01 AM PST (WGAw) and 5:32 AM EST (WGAe). Immediately, all late night talk and variety shows go into reruns.

November 8

Some 4,000 writers picket outside Fox Plaza, home to 20th Century Fox studios.[12]

November 9

SAG-member actors and Teamsters join the picket lines.

November 10

The first strike induced rerun of Saturday Night Live airs (Host:Jon Bon Jovi; Music: Foo Fighters).

November 14

WGAW president Patric Verrone and Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with legislators and regulators about the unions' position on new media.[13]

November 16

2008 US Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards appeared in person to picket and speak with the writers outside NBC Studios in Burbank, California.[14]

November 26

Leaders of the WGA and AMPTP resume negotiations.

November 28

A Democratic Presidential debate moderated by CBS News that was to be held in Los Angeles, California on December 10, was cancelled on due to candidate boycott.[15] A Democratic Presidential debate moderated by CNN was substituted and was held at the Kodak Theatre on January 29.

November 29

AMPTP submits a new proposal to the WGA, reportedly worth an additional $130 million in compensation. The WGA responded that it did not understand how the $130 million figure had been calculated, but was pleased the AMPTP was proposing figures in that range. Both sides agreed to a four-day recess at the WGA's request. Talks were resumed on December 4.


December 4

Last Call with Carson Daly became the first late night talk show to resume production during the strike stating that the only reason the show resumed production was that he was given the option to either return or have the show's 75 non-striking staff members be fired. [16] [17]

December 7

Talks between the WGA and AMPTP fall apart again as result of WGA's push for reality television proposals.[18] This move had been predicted by reporter Nikki Finke and others, many of whom suspect the AMPTP is intentionally delaying negotiations so that it may terminate unwanted production contracts via force majeure.[19] According to Wall Street, the impact of accepting all of WGA's proposals are "largely negligible" and "financially small", suggesting that the studios are afraid that reaching a favorable settlement with the writers might "embolden directors and actors in their coming renegotiations."[20]

December 11

The WGA grants a waiver to allow striking writers to write material for the 14th Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 27.

December 17

Entertainment television production comes to a standstill.[21]

Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien have announced that following the collapse of negotiations, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O'Brien would return to air on January 2, 2008 without writers, citing their non-writing staff facing layoffs as the main reason.[22][23]

The game show >DUEL< premieres as a 6 night weekly tournament over the next 5 weeknights and Sunday, December 23. The show is hosted by Mike Greenberg of ESPN and returned for a second season of 10 episodes on April 4, 2008.

December 18

The WGAw denies waivers granting permission for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to use Guild writers for the 65th Golden Globe Awards telecast on NBC. The guild also denied a waiver requested by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences granting excerpts of films and previous award ceremonies to be shown for the 80th Academy Awards on ABC.

December 19

Jimmy Kimmel also announces that his talk show would go on the air with new episodes without writers on January 2 citing layoffs of 87 staff members if no work is implemented immediately. [24]

December 20

The WGAw grants a waiver granting permission for Film Independent to use Guild writers for the Independent Spirit Awards held on February 23[25]

December 28

The WGAe and Worldwide Pants, David Letterman's independent production company, announced an "interim agreement" with the WGA. This agreement allows his talk show and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson to return to air with writers during the strike under terms contained in the WGA's previously-rejected proposals to the AMPTP on January 2.



January 2

NBC late night talk shows The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O'Brien and ABC late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live return with new episodes but with no writers. CBS's Late Show with David Letterman and Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson return with writers.[26] Despite a minor decline, The Tonight Show wins over the Late Show in Nielsen ratings over the remaining strike period, despite the latter's advantage with writers and primarily A-list (SAG-member) celebrities and Leno having no writers and somewhat less known (non-SAG member) people or actors visiting the show.

January 3

The Directors Guild of America and the AMPTP hold informal meetings over the directors' expiring contract.[27]

2008 US Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee signs on as guest on the January 7 episode of Late Show in response to being lambasted by the show's host David Letterman for appearing on rival The Tonight Show a day earlier.

January 4

The WGA accuses Jay Leno of breaking strike activity by pre-writing material; NBC defends Leno stating the he has the right to create material for himself on the show. Disciplinary action by the WGA has not yet surfaced against Leno.[28][29]

January 7

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and NBC announce that plans for the exclusive telecast for the 65th Golden Globe Awards were scrapped. Instead a press conference open to all media outlets will be held announcing the winners. The WGA in response promises not to picket their event.[30]

The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, return without writers.[31]

WGA announces it had made an interim agreement with legendary United Artists Films.

January 13

The press conference announcing the winners of the 65th Golden Globe Awards is held. The telecast plummeted in the ratings from 16.0 for the full ceremony in 2007 to 4.7 for the press conference in 2008, fourth (and last) among major networks that night.[32]

January 15

The WGAw announces that it has granted a waiver to the NAACP for writers to work on the Image Awards.[33]

January 17

Though pending ratification, a deal is reached between the DGA and AMPTP, re-fueling action to resume negotiations between the AMPTP and the striking WGA[34]

January 22

As nominations for the 80th Academy Awards are announced, the WGA and AMPTP resume informal talks.[35] WGA President Patric Verrone announces that the animation and reality jurisdiction proposals had been dropped.

January 23

The WGAw announces that its members have voted against picketing the 50th Grammy Awards on CBS; thereby allowing SAG member musicians and actors to attend the ceremony.[36]

January 25

WGA announces it had made an interim agreement with Lions Gate and Marvel Studios. However, the AMPTP has commented on these types of agreements as "meaningless", although talks between them and WGA are to continue over the weekend and many critics believe the strike can be over within two weeks.[37 ]

January 29

WGAw granted a waiver to National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences permitting guild members to write material for the Grammy Awards.[38]


February 3

Various media outlets report that the WGA and AMPTP have made progress between talks including New York Times[39][40 ], TV Guide [41], and NBC News[42]. One website, reported that Peter Chernin had told fellow Super Bowl XLII attendees and Fox personnel and sports reporters at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona that "the strike is over."[43]

February 5

Writer Joss Whedon denies any report that the WGA and AMPTP have reached an agreement. In a statement on pro-WGA blog United Hollywood, Whedon states:

This is not over. Nor is it close. Until the moment it is over, it can never be close. Because if we see the finish line we will flag and they are absolutely counting on us to do that. In the room, reason. On the streets, on the net, I say reason is for the 'moderates'. Remember what they've done. Remember what they're trying to take from us. FIGHT. FIGHT. FIGHT.
— Joss Whedon, February 5, 2008[44]

February 8

Chief media executive and former Disney president and CEO Michael Eisner prematurely announces on CNBC's Fast Money that a deal has been made between writers and producers.[45]

February 9

WGA President Verrone emailed the membership at 4:44 AM PST announcing that the WGA leadership and AMPTP had officially reached a tentative deal. The tentative contract proposals were provided to the membership, and a meeting to discuss them as well as future process is scheduled the same day on both coasts. The first deal discussion meeting for WGAE's members, which took place at 2:00 P.M. EST in New York City,[46] A second meeting for the WGAW was held at the Shrine Auditorium at 7:00 PST. Writers applaud the new deal and proclaim that their strike was a successful effort.[47]

February 10

The Writer's Guild of America initiated a 48 hour vote to guild members on making a motion on ending the three-month old strike.[48]

The 50th Grammy Awards take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California

February 11

Showrunners return to work.[49]

February 12

Both branches of the Writers' Guild vote to decide on whether to lift the restraining order imposed by the strike. Voting for the WGAE ends at 7:00 PM EST while the WGAW held voting from 2:00 PM PST until 6:00 PM PST. At a 6:51 PM PST press conference, WGA President Patric Verrone announces that 92.5% of all Writers' Guild members elected to lift the restraining order, therefore declaring the picket lines closed.[50][51] Verrone pledges that writers will create material for the 80th Academy Awards and invited actors are free to attend the ceremony.

February 13

Writers return to work for television programs.

All late night talk shows including The Tonight Show, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report, return with writers.[52]

February 23

Saturday Night Live airs first post-strike episode with guest host, Tina Fey.[53] Fey is a former head writer on SNL and currently works as a creator/actress/producer/writer on 30 Rock.

February 24

The 80th Academy Awards took place at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California with Jon Stewart presiding over hosting duties.

February 26

Both branches of the Writers Guild ratify by a 93.6% majority, a three-year deal that would last until May 1, 2011.[54]


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  1. ^ Hibberd, James (November 27, 2006). "WGA Scripts 'De-Facto Strike'". TV Week. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  2. ^ Welsh, James (May 14, 2007). "America's TV networks announce 2007-08 lineups". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-02-06.  
  3. ^ James, Meg; Verrier, Richard (May 15, 2007). "NBC's fall lineup includes backup plans". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-02-06.  
  4. ^ McNary, Dave (April 19, 2007). "Top bosses plot to prevent strike". Variety. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  5. ^ TV Writers Edging Toward a Strike - TV Decoder - Media & Television - New York Times Blog
  6. ^ Cieply, Michael (August 31, 2007). "To Strike or Not? Hollywood’s Next Drama". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  
  7. ^ A line in the sand : Show Tracker : Los Angeles Times
  8. ^ McNary, Dave; Cynthia Littleton (November 2, 2007). "Writers call for strike: Union producers to resume talks Sunday". Variety. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  
  9. ^ (embedded video) Presidents' (sic) announce WGA strike. Writers Guild of America.  
  10. ^ "Contract 2007 Negotiations Statement". Writers of Guild of America, West. November 4, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  
  11. ^ Finke, Nikki. "Deals, Lies & Backchannelling: Why This Is A Bigger Mess Now Than Ever Before" (blog). Deadline Hollywood Daily. LA Weekly. Retrieved 2007-11-04.  
  12. ^ STRIKE COVERAGE: WGA Sets Major Rally Friday Morning at Fox Plaza - 11/8/2007 11:40:00 PM - Broadcasting & Cable
  13. ^ Triplett, William (November 14, 2007). "Verrone, Rosenberg go to D.C.: Duo meet lawmakers on strike matters". Variety.  
  14. ^ Scribe Vibe: Variety's WGA Strike Blog: Rally Friday at NBC Burbank, featuring John Edwards
  15. ^ Gorman, Steve (2007-11-28). "Democratic presidential debate canceled over strike". Reuters.  
  16. ^ ""Carson Daly to defy writers strike"". MSNBC. November 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-30.  
  17. ^ Nikki Finke (November 27, 2007). ""WGA Scolds Carson Daly For Returning 'To Support Staff' And Seeking Scab Jokes"". Deadline Hollywood Daily. Retrieved 2007-12-14.  
  18. ^ "Judge AMPTP's Ultimatum For Yourselves". Deadline Hollywood Daily. Retrieved 2008-01-14.  
  19. ^ "Nikki Finke is Clairvoyant -- or Maybe the Playbook is Just Too Obvious". United - at Blogspot. Retrieved 2008-01-14.  
  20. ^ Goetzl, David (December 24, 2007). "Report Puts Another Digit On TV Writers Strike, But Main Issue Is Digital". MediaDailyNews (MediaPost Publications). Retrieved 2007-12-28.  
  21. ^ Strike Ends Most Scripted TV Work - TV Decoder - Media & Television - New York Times Blog
  22. ^ Finke, Nikki (2007-12-17). "WGA Reminds Returning Jay And Conan: No Monologues". Deadline Hollywood Daily (L.A Weekly). Retrieved 2007-12-19.  
  23. ^ Finke, Nikki (November 27, 2007). "WGA Scolds Carson Daly For Returning 'To Support Staff' And Seeking Scab Jokes". Deadline Hollywood Daily (L.A. Weekly). Retrieved 2007-12-19.  
  24. ^ Jimmy Kimmel to Return to Air Without Writers - New York Times
  25. ^ Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily » WGA Allowing Writers On Indie Awards
  26. ^ BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Letterman to return with writers
  27. ^ ABC News: Studios and directors begin informal contract talks
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ WGA maintains hard line on Leno
  30. ^ Finke, Nikki (2008-01-11). "CONFIRMED! NBC Cancels Golden Globes Newscast Exclusivity; No WGA Picketing When Foreign Press Announce Winners". Deadline Hollywood Daily (L.A. Weekly). Retrieved 2008-01-11.  
  31. ^ "Stewart, Colbert Returning to the Air". The Associated Press. December 21, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-21.  
  32. ^ Miller, Geri (January 14, 2008). "Bare Bones Golden Globes a Ratings Loser". People Online (People Magazine).,,20171600,00.html.  
  33. ^ ABC News: Grammys Seek Use of Striking Writers
  34. ^ ABC News: Hollywood directors reach deal with studios: source
  35. ^ Strike timeline - Los Angeles Times
  36. ^ ABC News: Guild, Studios Agree to Informal Talks
  37. ^ "From the Picket Lines: Strike Over By Oscars?". TV Guide. January 27, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-27.  
  38. ^ Writers Union Gives OK for Grammy Awards, Post-Bulletin, January 29, 2008
  39. ^ Progress Toward Ending Writers’ Strike - New York Times
  40. ^ Cieply, Michael (February 2, 2008). "Progress Toward Ending Writers’ Strike". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-03.  
  41. ^ Ausiello, Michael (2008-02-03). "Exclusive: 'Grey's', 'Housewives' Plot Post-Strike Returns". TV Guide. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  42. ^ MSNBC - Front Page
  43. ^ Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily » Chernin Tells Super Pals “Strike Is Over”
  44. ^ United Hollywood: From Joss Whedon: Do Not Adjust Your Mindset
  45. ^ Writers' Strike Eisner - Media * US * News * Story -
  46. ^ Hayes, Dade (2008-02-09). "Writers upbeat but still no vote". Variety. Retrieved 2008-02-09.  
  47. ^ Writers Applaud Deal with Stuidos, Washington Post, February 10, 2008
  48. ^ Writers Voting on Ending Strike, Yahoo!, February 12, 2008
  49. ^ Littleton, Cynthia; McNary, Dave (February 10, 2008). "Showrunners back to work Monday". Variety. Retrieved 2008-02-10.  
  50. ^ Writers Guild of America, West
  51. ^ "WGA's press release announcing strike ending". Variety. February 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-14.  
  52. ^ "Putting The Back in The Daily Show". The New York Times. February 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-14.  
  53. ^ Tina Fey To Host First Post-Strike Episode of SNL - TV Decoder - Media & Television - New York Times Blog
  54. ^ e-mail 2-26-08

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