N.Y. writers pick up pickets for 2008



NEW YORK -- Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Seth Meyers and Richard Belzer joined about 300 protesters outside Viacom's Times Square offices for the first major New York City WGA picket line of 2008.

Writers walking the picket line on an unusually warm winter day reiterated that they were committed to the strike for the long haul despite mounting financial pressures.

"The reality is setting in that we must be right about the Internet because these people are absolutely refusing to negotiate so either they're just stubborn out of hubris or they're intelligent businessmen who know the Internet is the motherlode and they don't want to give us a piece of it," said Warren Leight, co-executive producer and showrunner for "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." "There's not a person in New York who's willing to go back to work for the offer they left on the table of $240 for a year's unlimited Internet use of an hourlong drama."

The picket line stood in contrast to the much smaller groups of writers that have been protesting outside the New York City studios where "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" are taped.

"Everyone understands we need Viacom to come back to the table," Leight said. Stewart, Colbert and Conan did the right thing for a very long time. When we picket them we're trying to make it clear we're picketing NBC and Comedy Central, owned by Viacom. If there's such a thing as discrete picketing, that's what we try to do there."

He also noted that the WGA and SAG would be closely watching upcoming negotiations between the DGA and the AMPTP. "The studios think the DGA will roll over for them. The writers guild and the Screen Actors Guild will be watching that negotiation closely. I think the DGA knows that. And I think the DGA has more spine than the studios think they do."

John Slattery, Terry George, Tony Gilroy, Richard LaGravenese, Charlie Rubin, Tom Fontana, Nick Pileggi, Ron Nyswaner, Alan Zweibel, Andrew Bergman, Adam Brooks, and Jerry Coopersmith were also among the picketers.

And despite their deal with independent production company Worldwide Pants, writers from "Late Show With David Letterman" still took part in the picket.