The majority agreed to stop work completely, hoping that by shutting down production of popular shows, studios would become crippled and would capitulate, thus bringing the strike to a quick end. [Neal] Baer and other show runners vowed not to fulfill their producing obligations until serious negotiations resumed.Second, show runners apparently were instrumental in getting both sides to resume negotiations this week:
But a contingent of more than two dozen have quietly returned to work, editing episodes written before the strike began, according to talent agents and writers.
Their actions have stoked worries among writers about a repeat outcome of the last major Hollywood strike in 1988, when show runners went back to work after five months, undercutting the bargaining power of the guild, which ultimately agreed to terms that it had earlier rejected. [emphasis added]
But the strike is proving that show runners are beginning to call the industry's shots in ways that other traditional power sources -- trade unions, studio bosses, network executives, agents -- either cannot or will not do. Indeed, The Times and other outlets have reported that TV writer-producers, along with agents and a few influential screenwriters, played a crucial back-channel role in pressuring the studios and the guild to come back to the bargaining table.And the show runners are motivated to broker an agreement exactly because they have a foot in both camps and are losing in two different ways:
A powerful group of top writer-producers, who dominate television's prime-time schedule, also are highly motivated to stem the bleeding, both to save their shows from cancellation and to keep their staffs employed.I don’t know how long the strike will last, but I take the increasing involvement of writer-producers as a sign of hope.