The Writers Guild supposedly will deliver a counteroffer to what the media companies proposed last week. No one is sounding especially optimistic that a deal can be reached anytime soon, but tea leaf-reading has been pretty unreliable so who knows. The latest public squabble is over a proposal by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for a fixed $250 annual residual on streaming video for one-hour network dramas. "We have to get a better proposal on the table," said WGA West president Patric Verrone. The AMPTP says it’s not a take-it-or-leave-it offer. Once again, WGA Executive Director David Young is sounding the most conciliatory. He told the WSJ that because the writers are asking for $151 million in pay increases over the next three years and the studios' latest offer totaled $130 million, "we're not that far apart." Nikki Finke has an interesting look at the ongoing split among the media moguls. Moderates include News Corp.'s Peter Chernin, Disney's Bob Iger and NBC's Jeff Zucker. Hardliners are CBS's Les Moonves (possibly on orders from his boss, Sumner Redstone) and Warner Bros.'s Barry Meyer. Here's more from Finke:
For weeks now, I've talked to several moguls about why they don't deal individually with the WGA and blow off the AMPTP. After all, rather than collude, these major studios and networks are supposed to compete with one another. The car companies have a lot in common, but they still bargain individually with the auto workers. So let's look at Hollywood. Sony is primarily in the movie business. Why not get their films restarted? And NBC has been in the cellar ratings-wise. Why not leap-frog other networks? But when I raise this possibility, the CEO's answer is an audible shrug, followed by stammering and a simple, "I just can't." They don't want to upset protocol and break ranks.
Meantime, the networks are ready to put a bunch of reality and game shows on their schedules (their banks of scripted comedies and dramas are pretty much dry). CBS will have a winter season of “Big Brother,” along with new episodes of “Power of 10,” “Survivor” and “48 Hours Mystery” (I can hear the remotes clicking already). Also returning to the schedule are seven episodes of the "Jericho,” which was canceled and then resurrected after fan protests. NBC will show episodes of “Law & Order” and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent” that were originally shown on USA. (NYT)