Powerful News from the Writers Guild of America West

This update on current MBA Negotiations made us smile.

March 24, 2020
Dear Members,

We hope this email finds you all doing as well as can be expected in this time of uncertainty and instability.

It’s in that spirit that we want to update you on our current situation with the AMPTP. Although we had originally planned to meet with the AMPTP beginning March 23rd, given the current health crisis we cannot effectively negotiate this important three-year agreement in our usual fashion. It may not be possible to conclude a new contract by May 1st, nor will we be asking you for a strike authorization vote in the interim. Even if no new contract is in place by May 1st, writers can continue working under the 2017 agreement. We are discussing several options with the companies, including a potential contract extension, but we think it is most sensible to continue to evaluate the constantly – it seems hourly – changing situation before making a decision about the most strategically optimal way forward.

This is not a time for rash decisions or pressured outcomes. Instead we are conferring with public health authorities, financial analysts, other guilds and unions, legislators, benefit fund experts and others to gather information as the situation continues to evolve.

The Negotiating Committee continues to meet regularly – via teleconference – to discuss options. Although we realize that members would like to know exactly what will happen and when, those determinations may take some time, so we ask for your patience and understanding. The committee is determined to make the best possible decision about the path forward. Rest assured, we will continue to put writers’ health and their current and future well-being above all else. To avoid unnecessary anxiety and confusion, please remember the only reliable source of information about these MBA negotiations is your Guild.

In Solidarity,

MBA Negotiating Committee

Michele Mulroney, Co-Chair
Shawn Ryan, Co-Chair
Betsy Thomas, Co-Chair

Liz Alper
Arash Amel
John August
Amy Berg
Ashley Nicole Black
Adam Brooks
Francesca Butler
Patti Carr
Robb Chavis
Meg DeLoatch
Travis Donnelly
Kate Erickson
Dante W. Harper
Eric Heisserer
Melissa London Hilfers
Elliott Kalan
Chris Keyser
Adele Lim
Peter Murrieta
Luvh Rakhe
Dailyn Rodriguez
Erica Saleh
Sara Schaeffer
David Slack
Lauren Ashley Smith
Meredith Stiehm
Patric M. Verrone

David A. Goodman, Ex-Officio
Marjorie David, Ex-Officio
Beau Willimon, Ex-Officio
Kathy McGee, Ex-Officio
Bob Schneider, Ex-Officio

Writers Guild of America West
7000 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Herbie J Pilato On TV’s Wonder Couple, Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner

by Herbie J Pilato

From 1975 (in ABC’s World War II setting) to 1979 (for the CBS then-contemporary version), Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner utilized grace and humor in portraying lead characters Diana Prince and Steve Trevor in the same, but different — if twin — television adaptations of Woman Woman.

Today, the seemingly-immortal Carter remains active in nearly every aspect of the entertainment industry. But sadly, Waggoner succumbed to cancer at 84-years-old on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2020.

Before Wonder Woman, Waggoner was best-known as the announcer-turned-performer on The Carol Burnett Show from 1967 to 1974. While the Burnett program continued until 1978 without him, Waggoner found new fame as the father and son editions of Steve Trevor opposite Carter, then a fresh-faced newcomer (and former Miss World USA), in the 1975 TV-movie and backdoor pilot, The All-New, Original Wonder Woman.

TV watchers tuned in by the groves, and that film turned into a series of ABC one-hour specials, followed by two more regular seasons on CBS.

Many viewers were charmed by Carter and Waggoner’s very human and approachable TV interpretations of their comic book roles. “That’s exactly what I tried to do,” Carter in particular once recalled. “Wonder Woman possessed superpowers, but her special abilities did not solely define who she was. With Wonder Woman, people had a chance to see something that they hadn’t seen before on TV -a physically able, emotionally and psychologically stable, independent woman with a fantasy element….”

Read it all at Medium.Com

Writer/producer Herbie J Pilato is the host of the TV talk show THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, now streaming on Amazon Prime and the author of several pop-culture/media tie-in books. He has been part of TVWriter™ for over 20 years and is Contributing Editor Emeritus. Learn more about Herbie J HERE

Star Trek: Picard Review – Who is Brent Spiner Really Playing?

TVWriter™ doesn’t do a lot of TV episode reviews these days, but this one – discovered on IndieWire.Com definitely has caught our attention. This TVWriter™ minion definitely is lovin’ Christian Blauvelt’s intriguing reasoning!

Brent Spiner as Alton Soong of the the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: PICARD. Photo Cr: Aaron Epstein/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

by Christian Blauvelt

Consider this writer impressed.

“Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1” does a spectacular job of synthesizing the style of “The Next Generation” with that of “The Original Series” — and the result is something new altogether.

What does that mean? Well, think about this: we’ve got a race of higher life forms that look somewhat human, but in manner are clearly not. Their women are scantily clad, unnaturally hued, and a tad spacey. Their men, shirtless, leave no impression at all. And they all live in a kind of Eden where any disruption to their utopian ways could result in an apocalyptic, deus ex machina solution. They also use giant space flowers as weapons!

This could be the setup of any number of “Original Series” episodes. But then you throw Brent Spiner in the mix as a self-described “mad scientist” and Jean-Luc Picard’s speechifying and you’ve got a dash of “Next Gen” added to the mix. The combination of the two results in a synthesis that could be the defining aesthetic of “Star Trek: Picard.”

Other than “Nepenthe,” this is surely the best episode of this uneven series to date, and it began with a bang: a space battle between La Sirena and Narek’s Romulan craft upon emerging from the transwarp corridor. They’d traveled 25 light years in 15 minutes and emerged above the world Coppelius — a name that has its origin in a strange E.T.A. Hoffmann story. More on that later….

Read it all at indiewire.com

Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #89 “Runnin’ with the Wind”

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THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to  the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.

In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.

Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.

by Larry Brody

Live! From Paradise!
Column #89
By Larry Brody

My life took an unexpected turn last weekend. I’m still sorting it out.

Gwen the Beautiful and I had planned to visit Wanda the Arkansas Angel. But a phone call changed that.

“Hey, it’s Zeph. I’m in the neighborhood. Got time for me to drop in?”

I hadn’t heard that voice in almost a decade, since a rookie cop named Zeph was assigned to take me around Cowboy City while I shot a movie there. He was bright, helpful, a good guy, but although I was happy to hear from him this wasn’t the best time.

Zeph caught my hesitation. “I’m in trouble,” he said. “I need your help.”

That’s not something you say no to. I gave him the directions to our little corner of Paradise.

“I’ll be there tomorrow morning,” Zeph said.

The Zeph I remembered was a man of his word. That hadn’t changed. The next morning a battered old Dodge pulled into our clearing. Out popped an older, troubled version of the eager young man I remembered, his sandy hair now tinged with gray.

We did the welcoming embrace thing, and I asked if he wanted coffee.

“No thanks,” he said. There was an edge in his voice.


“No time,” he went on.

No. Not nervousness.


“C’mon,” I said. “Let’s talk.”

Decker the Giant-Hearted accompanied us down the trail to the Original Settlers’ Cabins. These days, the cookhouse is just a three-sided shell, and the main cabin looks like it’ll follow suit any day.

“Some wreck, huh?” I said.

“Reminds me of my life,” said Zeph. And then, in a torrent:

“I’m on the run, bud. Ten years a cop and now I’m on the other side. They put me undercover a couple years ago. I was always Mr. Clean so nobody wrong knew me. Made me the perfect nark.

“I met users and dealers and smiled and became their friend. Played ‘em off each other. Set ‘em up. Put ‘em in the slammer! I was awesome at my job.

“Then I met Ruby. She was a crystal meth addict but hadn’t lost her looks yet. We fell in love, and I straightened her out. She flew through rehab! To celebrate, I left my wife and daughter. Ruby and I became one.

“The PD put me into a big sting operation. Our little Podunk City squad and some Feds. My ticket to a promotion. After it was over I’d be a lieutenant, and off the street.

“I was worried about how Ruby would take it when she found out I wasn’t the bum she thought. Decided to force the issue and told her straight out. She freaked. And then she made a very bad move.

“The Feds had given me a bag with $10,000 for the big buy that would break a very bad guy. The day before we were set to roll, Ruby and the bag disappeared.

“I found Ruby five days later,” Zeph continued. “She was zonked out of her head ‘cause she’d spent every penny in that bag on crystal. The Feds figured out what’d happened. They wanted her. And the PD wanted me.

“There’s a right way to do things and a wrong one. I was crazy in love, and I made a choice. Threw Ruby into my undercover car and took off with her. Anything to keep her out of jail.”

“Where is she now?”

“She bailed in Tulsa. Turned herself in and said I’d put her up to it. Now everybody’s after just me. I loved her, Larry! I feel all broken inside. Like somebody crushed my spirit. And I think that somebody was me.”

Decker jumped up on Zeph. Put his paws on Zeph’s shoulders and licked his face. A face that already was wet with tears.

Zeph patted him. Turned to me. “Thanks for the talk. Feels a little better now, getting it out.”

Without another word, Zeph headed back up the trail. As I started after him a gust of wind blowing from the southeast stopped me. I turned to face it.

“What’s going to happen?” I said. “What’s he going to do?”

“What he has to,” the wind said. “Just like everyone else.”

And then:

“You did good.”

“I didn’t do anything,” I told the wind. “I wanted to make everything better. But I just let the man talk.”

Another gust plucked my hat from my head. Sent it sailing. “I was talking to Decker!” said the wind.

10 Most Viewed TVWriter™ Posts of the Week – March 23, 2020

Good morning! Welcome to another new week at TVWriter™, starting with our latest look at the most popular blog posts and resource pages during the  last week.

They are, in order:

How To Write The Perfect TV Series Review To Captivate Your Readers

‘The Following’ Season 4 was Cancelled by Fox Because the TV Series Became a Victim of Lazy Writing!

Corporal Punishment and Primetime TV

Writing the Dreaded Outline


8 Tips for Writing for Children’s TV Shows

Supernatural Season 1 Finale – Recap and Review

The Outline/Story

What’s the Difference Between a Cartoon & a Meme?

LB: Where Did THE FALL GUY Live?

Big thanks to everybody for helping us have another terrific week at TVWriter™. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!