WGA's high cost of striking

$102 million so far, AMPTP says

Hollywood studios have suggested all along that writers will be sadly surprised when they discover the high cost of a WGA strike.

Now they're actually helping them calculate that cost.

A Web site operated by the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers now boasts a running tally — updated by the second — of income lost by guild members since the WGA launched its strike against studios and networks Nov. 5.

"Estimated losses are based on data supplied by WGA West on initial compensation paid to its members in 2006," the AMPTP said. "For the purposes of this estimate, last year's reported initial compensation of $1.06 billion is averaged over a 365-day year, beginning when the WGA went out on strike on Nov. 5."

Through Tuesday, that tally was running upward of $102.2 million and counting.

The Web site flourish — traceable to the AMPTP's newly hired PR team of Mark Fabiani and Chris Lehane — was added one day after a spoof of AMPTP.org showed up as AMPTP.com, complete with phony company news releases and executive profiles.

Meanwhile, over on the labor side of the negotiating impasse, picketing continued on both coasts Tuesday.

Sign-bearing strikers walked lines at the usual studio and network locations throughout Los Angeles. And in New York, more than 200 striking writers and others held a protest rally at the West 66th Street site of ABC daytime productions "The View" and "All My Children."

WGA East reps handed out leaflets to members of the public standing in an audience line for "View," whose Whoopi Goldberg sent out hot chocolate for the striking writers. Among those joining the scribes' picket line were actress Dana Delany, writer-director Nora Ephron and writer-producer Tom Fontana.

The WGA's strike marks its 38th day today.