Picketers gather at Paramount


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Actor-writer-director Jeff Garlin and SAG board members Valerie Harper and Anne-Marie Johnson were among those picketing outside Paramount on Tuesday morning.

The picketers, whose chants ranged from "4 more cents" to a call-and-response song, also included a man wearing a T-shirt with the image of a Los Angeles Times story from the weekend with the headline "Viacom profits shoot up 80%."

Asked his thoughts about the status of the WGA-AMPTP talks, Garlin said: "This is a big ball of wrong."

He added that his HBO show, "Curb Your Enthusiasm," has wrapped its current season, so it's not affected by the strike.

TV writer Bernie Lechowick, who also was among the Paramount picketers, noted the support that the writers have gotten from SAG members like Harper and Johnson along with Teamsters, who have shown up to walk the picket line.

"We're very grateful for their support," he said, adding that "it's a real puzzle (because) this issue is a no-brainer. It's hard not to believe the studios wanted us to strike. And the strike will last as long as the producers don't (reach what the writers perceive to be a fair resolution)."

Meanwhile, Harper noted that SAG has four major contracts coming up for renegotiations next year and that the actors guild is paying close attention to what's going on with the WGA-AMPTP situation.

"We'll be watching this very closely and standing closely with the writers because we have an identical issue that we need to settle in June," said Harper, in her second day picketing outside Paramount.

Johnson, who had been outside CBS Radford on Monday, echoed those sentiments.

"(The writers) have our complete support," she said. "This means everything to SAG. When we start negotiations, we hope ours go smoothly."