Ellen DeGeneres crosses the picket line


A lot of famous actors have jumped behind the writers during their strike and refused to cross picket lines, or joined and picketed alongside the lesser-known (but most would argue just as important) workers. Several people have said they think the actors are just doing it to look good and get some good press, but I’m not going to damn them if they do and damn them if they don’t. Whatever their reason, it’s good they’re showing their support – if for no other point than it’s pretty clear that the writers aren’t going to give in, and that means shows won’t get made – so no one will get their money. The producers might as well give in a little on their stake in the massive profits.

Steve Carell effectively shut down production on “The Office” when he refused, and yesterday we mentioned that the cast of “Grey’s Anatomy” had joined the picketers. Eventually the cast of “Desperate Housewives” joined in, after Eva Longoria crossed the picket lines and became the subject of several (quasi-lame) rhymed protest chants. They shut down production soon after. Several producers/writers have refused to work as well, with CBS and FOX threatening legal action against them if they don’t.

It seems like there has been a lot of remarkably mature, principled behavior here, with one notable exception: Ellen DeGeneres. She chose to cross the lines and film her show anyway, because, as she put it, “It’s sweeps.” Yeah it’s sweeps for everyone, and certainly that affects a live show more than a pre-taped show. Still, I think it’s safe to assume that you could always find a couple excuses not to be supportive, and all those other people could too. The writers who aren’t working are generally going without their salaries, and a lot of the other cast and crew are as well. A few days of sweeps are not the end of the world – a lot of show’s numbers are going to be messed up.

Move over Iggy, Ellen DeGeneres is at the center of a brand new controversy. Unlike The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Ellen is continuing to film during the ongoing strike by the Writers Guild. DeGeneres opened her show Friday sans monologue, instead giving a nod to her writers who she “loves” and explaining the situation to her audience.

“It’s sweeps,” DeGeneres said, “Which is a very important time in television because that’s when you do your best shows, your funniest material. You pull it out and do everything you can because you want everybody watching. And now we’re in the middle of a strike – a writer’s strike.” She conceded, “This is a strange show for me to do … it’s a weird show,” and tried to fill the empty time with extra minutes of her signature dancing.

“I want to say I love my writers. I love them. In honor of them today, I’m not going to do a monologue,” she’s quoted as saying. “[But] people have traveled across the country. They’ve made plans. They’re here. I want to do everything I can to make your trip enjoyable and give you a show.”

[From People]

A lack of a monologue isn’t really a show of support to your writers. It’s the consequence of not having writers. Not crossing picket lines is a show of support to your writers.

In other writer’s strike news, here’s a list of some of the shows that will be affected in the next month or two.

– “House,” with six episodes left, will be fresh through November, with the last few airing in January – one of them following Fox’s broadcast of the Super Bowl.
– “Samantha Who?“, ABC’s new hit comedy, has eight episodes in the can.
– The “Crime Scene Investigation” trio, “NCIS,””Criminal Minds,””Without a Trace” and “Cold Case” each have three to six more episodes to run on CBS.

– CBS’ comedies (“How I Met Your Mother,””The Big Bang Theory,””Two And a Half Men,””Rules of Engagement“) will run dry by month’s end.
– ABC’s “Ugly Betty,””Pushing Daisies” and “Grey’s Anatomy” each have four new episodes to go.
– “Desperate Housewives” airs the last of its current stock of new episodes Dec. 2.
– The final new episode of NBC’s “Heroes” airs Dec. 3.

– “The Office” will head into rerun mode on NBC for the foreseeable future after next week’s episode. Among other things, shooting has stopped because star Steve Carell won’t cross picket lines.
– Despite a report that Fox’s “Family Guy” would air its final new episode this Sunday, the cartoon series will be new through November, the network said.

– The planned January return of Fox’s “24” has been postponed indefinitely. Since only some of the series’ 24 episodes have been shot, Fox didn’t want to risk beginning a new season that might be interrupted.

[From the Associated Press]

I sense a lot more reality television in our futures. Fabulous.

Picture note by Jaybird: Here’s ‘Ugly Betty’ actors walking the picket lines today in support of writers. The cast of ‘Ugly Betty’ and other came out to join the striking writers on the picket line at Raleigh Studios. Images thanks to Splash Photos.


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