Stars fall in line for WGA



In Los Angeles, it was "bring your star to the picket line" day. Outside several entrances to Universal Studios, familiar faces from TV and film walked the eight-block picket line with the writers. SAG said as many as 500 of its members were there to show their support.

Many actors said they were concerned because the WGA negotiations could set a precedent for their contract, which expires in June.

"We've become a close family with all our writers, especially Marc [Cherry]," "Desperate Housewives" star James Denton said. "We're all in the same boat. We're all fighting the same battle."

His co-star, Nicollette Sheridan, had stronger words for the studios and networks.

"I think the companies are clinging to the past," she said. "No matter who is striking, they have to do the fair and right thing, and they are not willing to listen or negotiate."

Actress Camryn Manheim said the solidarity between the two guilds is of the utmost importance.

"It's not possible to have TV and movies without the writers," she said. "Without writers, we're just a bunch of klutzes."

Many of the SAG members pushed the same message: While there are some writers who do very well, most are middle class and often live paycheck to paycheck.

"Without a Trace" star Enrique Murciano said he's also feeling the impact as the show heads into one more episode before production stops.

"We had a camera guy show up with his two kids because he can't afford a nanny anymore and his wife died a couple years ago," Murciano said. "It's serious. I have craftsmen offering services, asking, 'Do you need any work done around your house?' "

Valerie Harper, a member of SAG's national board of directors, said the WGA members' battles are in lock step with those of other unions such as the Service Employees International Union or Communication Workers of America.

"A lot of this is going on in our country -- doing business cheaper and decimating the middle class," Harper said. "In the future, this strike will be a historic moment for unions."

"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" creators and actors Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney said they were lucky enough to wrap up production on the show the Friday before the strike.

"I had a friend ask me, 'I noticed your show is in the top 20 on iTunes -- how much do you get?' " Day said. "The answer is zero."