December 10, 2007

We are heartbroken to report that despite our best efforts, including sending them a muffin basket, making them a mix CD, and standing outside their window with a boombox blasting Peter Gabriel songs, our talks with the WGA have broken down. Quite frankly, we're puzzled as to why this happened. We talked about it all the way home – after we walked into their hotel room, slapped our list of demands on the table and abruptly left the negotiating session – and none of us could figure out what went wrong.

While we're not going to point fingers or assign blame, we do feel justified in saying that they are entirely at fault. The AMPTP has successfully concluded 306 major agreeements with unions since its founding in 1982, and there has never been an incident like this. Except for that writers' strike in 1985. And the directors' strike in 1987. And that other writers' strike in 1988. Aside from three isolated incidents, however, this strike is completely without precedent.

We believe our New Economic Partnership™ proposal – under which the average salary for writers making between $220,000 and $240,000 would be $230,000 – is the single greatest document since the Magna Carta. And we have proved, over the last five months, that we want writers to participate in producers' revenues. Mostly by repeatedly saying, "we want writers to participate in producers' revenues." Still, we must be clear: Under no circumstances will we knowingly participate in the destruction of this business. If we destroy this business, it will only be through accident and incompetence – that's the AMPTP Pledge®!

While the WGA's members can clearly stage rallies, concerts and mock exorcisms, maintain unity in a large and diverse workforce, gain the support of a majority of the general public, prompt a sharp dip in our stock prices, derail half a dozen major movies and force us to refund advertisers' money after they learn that they'll be getting "American Gladiators" instead of "Chuck," we question their ability to get things done. It is now absolutely clear that the WGA's organazis are determined to advance their own personal ideologies, political agendas, sexual preferences, barbaric tribal customs, canine wardrobe choices, religious beliefs and blood rituals upon working writers and other working persons who depend on our work industry for their work.

Instead of negotiating, the WGA organizateurs have made demands, then expected us to counter with our demands, and for them to adjust their demands, and for us to do likewise, until we reach a mutually acceptable resolution in some sort of "give-and-take" process. Needless to say, we consider this to be a roadblock to progress (of both boldface and italic proportions). Thus, we have asked that they withdraw these demands:

  • They demand full control over reality and animation programming, despite the fact that neither genre requires any writing at all. It is, after all, a well-documented fact that "Flavor of Love" is a Frederick Wiseman documentary about a man who happens to be choosing a bride from among 20 whores, and that "Family Guy" is entirely improvised by a cast of extremely precocious illustrations.

  • The WGA is demanding the right to join in strikes of other labor organizations. This is simply unacceptable, as we plan on gutting the contracts of many other unions in the upcoming year.

  • Their proposal for Internet compensation could doom the Internet media business before it ever gets started. (Projected start date: October 4, 2012.) We have already offered the writers a very generous $250 per episode for using their work on the Internet. Sure, $250 may not sound like much, but it adds up – a whole season of "Heroes" would cost nearly $6,000! Who's going to pay that money? Go look at at the "Heroes" web site – unless you count Nissan, Cisco, Sprint, and American Express, nobody's willing to step up and advertise on such a risky and unproven medium. And who knows how much longer those fly-by-night operations will be around? (I mean, have you seen the Nissan Rogue? It looks like a Pontiac Aztek fucked a PT Cruiser, am I right?)

  • The writers are demanding that, when we sell content within our own companies, we have a neutral third party ensure that we aren't deflating the price in order to cheat them out of their share. This lack of trust hurts, quite frankly, especially after all we've done for writers over the years. I mean, we've stuck with them through thick and thin – even going so far as to bankroll their unprofitable vanity projects, like Forrest Gump, Lord of the Rings, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
  • In summary, the writers are demanding respect they haven't earned, privileges they don't deserve, and money for work they haven't done. And those are perquisites we reserve solely for the severance packages of departing CEOs. Simply creating a hit show isn't enough – if they want tens of millions of dollars, they will have to earn them by driving a company so far into the ground that it's worth $85 million to shareholders to be rid of them.

    We urge the WGA's pedophorganizers to abandon their Quixotic pursuit of radical demands. We will not let you tilt at windmills. (We have placed all studio windmills under heavy security). The fact of the matter is, we're going to win this thing. We've got enough material to wait out the strike. On the feature side, we've got great scripts ready to shoot. How do we know they're great? Because they were already hits! Get ready for "Talladega Nights" starring Dane Cook! Wait until you see "Titanic" with Keira Knightley and Zac Efron! And on the TV side, we've got enough reality shows to choke a horse. Literally – one of the shows is "Can You Choke This Horse?" And for the fall, we're already working on "Can You Choke This Horse With the Stars?" (Pepsi, you want a logo on the horse? Consider it done.)

    We look forward to hearing from the WGA. Once they've unilaterally dropped the majority of their demands and acceded to our wishes, we look forward to having a full and frank exchange of ideas with them.

    Click here for Frequently Asked Questions related to the WGA Strike

    Six out of 10 non-Judd Apatow movies never recoup their original investment.

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