STRIKE COVERAGE: Writers Guild of America East Disses Ellen

Union Scalds DeGeneres for Not Honoring Strike 11/09/2007 09:05:00 AM Eastern


Writers Guild of America East

Friday severely upbraided daytime talk-show host

Ellen DeGeneres

for not honoring the

ongoing writers’ strike


Ellen DeGeneres

On Monday, DeGeneres did not report to work, but she was back on the set Tuesday at Warner Bros.’ request. No other syndicated show is being affected by the strike, even CBS’ Dr. Phil, which employs guild writers.

In anticipation of two episodes the show is scheduled to tape in New York Nov. 19 and 20, the guild issued a lengthy statement, some of which is excerpted here.

“The Writers Guild of America East is extremely disappointed to see that Ellen has chosen not to stand with writers during the strike. Ellen's peers who host comedy/variety shows have chosen to support the writers and help them get a fair contract. Ellen has not. On her first show back, Ellen said she loves and supports her writers, but her actions prove otherwise.

“Ellen has also been performing comedy on her show. Even if Ellen is writing those segments herself, since those segments would normally be written by the writers on strike, she's performing ‘struck work.’ Ellen is violating the strike rules that were clearly explained to all of the comedy/variety shows.

“We certainly intend to let Ellen know our dissatisfaction in person if she decides to proceed with the shows she has scheduled in New York Nov. 19 and 20. We will also make our voices heard the preceding week if she tries to pretape comedy segments on location.

“We find it sad that Ellen spent an entire week crying and fighting for a dog that she gave away, yet she couldn't even stand by writers for more than one day -- writers who have helped make her extremely successful.”

The entire statement is available online.

”It is unfair and incorrect to compare The Ellen DeGeneres Show to late-night shows such as Leno, Letterman and Conan, all of which are late-night network-owned and controlled programming,” Telepictures Productions said in a statement.

Ellen is a daytime talk show carried on a syndicated basis across individual television stations, no different than, and in direct competition with, Oprah, Rachael Ray, Dr. Phil, Live with Regis and Kelly, The View, Martha, Tyra, Jerry, Maury and Montel, all of which are in first-run daytime syndication and are continuing in production,” the company added. “Ellen has not done anything in violation of the Writer's Guild of America agreement, or the WGA's internal ‘strike rules.’”

The company continued, “Telepictures Productions, through its distributor, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution has contractual obligations to continue to deliver original programming to the 220 stations that carry the program. We have asked Ellen to come back to work to fulfill her contractual obligation as host of the show because without original programs, the stations can move the show out of its time periods or ultimately hold the company in breach of contract. The company, in turn, expects Ellen not to breach her contract to host the show. We also wish to preserve the 135 jobs of the staff and the crew, whose livelihoods depend on the show continuing. We regret that the Writers Guild has chosen to strike and we wish for a quick resolution.”

For a gallery of photos from the picket line, click here.

For full coverage of the strike, click here.

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