WGA East rethinks awards gala



The WGA East announced Friday that it will scale back its annual awards gala to an informal "recognition reception" at the Millennium Broadway Hotel's Hudson Theater on Feb. 9.

The reception, which will not have a red carpet or tickets for sale, is limited to award nominees and their guests as well as WGAE members and their guests.

"We have chosen to honor the nominees and recipients of our awards in the context of our ongoing strike against the studios and networks," WGAE president Michael Winship said. "This will be a simple event that will rally us together as a union, note the solidarity of our membership in difficult times and recognize the creativity and skill of our members that make our industry possible."

The awards show, Winship said, also honors excellence in TV and radio news and documentaries, which are written and produced under contracts separate from what is in dispute with guild members.

"Approximately a third of our members work under these separate contracts, including members at CBS News, ABC News and PBS," Winship said. "Recognizing their achievements as well as their commitment to and solidarity with their union colleagues is a vital part of our decision to hold this recognition reception."

Last week, the WGA West said it was canceling its Feb. 9 awards banquet, normally a splashy, nontelevised show at the Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. The WGAW will reveal the 2008 winners Feb. 9, but no details were available about the announcement.

"There will be no Writers Guild of America West show until the strike is over," the guild said.

The New York-based WGAE is a separate operation from the WGAW, though the guilds negotiate with the studios and producers jointly.