Inside the Writers’ Down-to-the-Wire Negotiations – Vanity Fair
It’s Tuesday, and I’m pretty sure that swashbuckler Andrew Jackson prevented the writers’ strike.
Hello from Los Angeles, where we’re heading to work instead of picket lines today, feeling choked up for Jimmy Kimmel, and scouring Met Gala fashions for inspiration.
O.K. EVERYBODY, BACK IN THE POOL
That rush of air moving across the valley is not the Santa Ana winds, it’s the exhales of thousands of people who are going to work in the entertainment industry Tuesday, after negotiators for the Writers Guild of America struck a last-minute deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers Monday night.
The W.G.A. contract was set to expire at midnight, and up until the final days of bargaining, “there were definitely people in the room who wanted to go on strike,” a writer who was close to the negotiations told me. “We had to come up with something that members would accept.”
What negotiators got was a new, three-year contract that amounts to $130 million more than writers were initially expected to accept. That money comes as a boost to health-plan contributions; a 15 percent increase in pay-TV residuals; a new formula to guarantee writers are compensated for time spent on shorter TV seasons; and job protection on parental leave. One area where the guild wasn’t able to secure any gains was on script parity—the idea that writers working for shows on AMC or Amazon should earn the same as those working for shows on traditional broadcast networks like ABC.
For the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ part, the execs who run the member companies made it clear they took the writers seriously, no doubt in part because of the 96 percent who voted to authorize a strike. “It was pretty clear Sunday and Monday that [the producers] wanted a deal,” the writer who was in the room said. A photo of the grinning W.G.A. negotiating team taken at 12:51 A.M. on Tuesday tells a fuller story; the guild’s negotiators feel they got their members a great deal.
“It was a huge sense of relief,” the writer said. “The A.M.P.T.P., they’re tough but they stuck to their word, and they were fair. It was a really hard negotiation, but in the end you don’t get everything you want.”
Deadline’s David Robb and Dominic Patten have posted the W.G.A.’s full memo to members laying out the gains.
Next up are the actors, with SAG-AFTRA set to start negotiating with the A.M.P.T.P. later this month, ahead of their June 30 contract expiration.
VF.com’s Joanna Robinson e-mails:
Late-night comedians continue to grapple with their increasingly politicized role in the Trump era; Stephen Colbert is getting angrier and even class clown Jimmy Fallon is struggling to find his edge. On Monday night, Jimmy Kimmel delivered an unusually heartfelt message to the Trump administration. The comedian and Oscar host took nearly 15 minutes at the top of his show to step out of character and tearfully tell the story of the medical professionals who saved his newborn son’s life last week. What began as a personal story evolved into Kimmel’s larger plea to Capitol Hill to provide health care for every American. Though he probably did not intend to become part of a movement, Kimmel—already in the midst of a tumultuous year—just became the friendly, familiar, and famous face of an extremely divisive issue.
TONY, TONY, TONY
The Tony nominations are in, and Josh Groban, Bette Midler, and Ben Platt, the breakout star of tearjerker musical Dear Evan Hansen, are having an excellent Tuesday. The New York Times theater reporter Michael Paulson has the full list of nominees and analysis. The prizes will be awarded on June 11 during a ceremony at Radio City Musical Hall, broadcast on CBS, and hosted by Kevin Spacey.
THE FINAL FILM
VF.com’s Yohana Desta e-mails:
U.S. fans will finally get a chance to see Robin Williams’s final film in theaters. Absolutely Anything, the comedy directed by Terry Jones (Monty Python and the Holy Grail) will hit theaters on May 12, two years after the film made its U.K. debut, per Anita Busch of Deadline. Williams finished shooting the film in 2014, just three weeks before his death. In it, he voices the role of a perky dog living with his owner (Simon Pegg), who suddenly has magical abilities. Aside from it being Williams’s final film, Absolutely Anything is also another good-bye to a group of comedy legends, re-uniting Jones with original Monty Python actors John Cleese, Eric Idle, and Michael Palin. Jones has previously said it will likely be the last Python reunion for him, as he was recently diagnosed with dementia.
THE HOWARD WHISPERER
Longtime fans have been complaining that Howard Stern has gone soft and Marci Turk may be the reason why. The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint has a good write-around on “The Howard Whisperer,” the woman whom Stern hired in 2012 to “elevate his show and create a friendly atmosphere for lengthy interviews with actors and musicians,” Flint writes. Among Turk’s changes at Stern’s SiriusXM show: reaching out to different types of stars like recent interviewee Lena Dunham, sprucing up the greenroom, and giving guests gift baskets.
BRINGING THE FASHION
Why not take a break and peruse VF.com’s gallery of the 2017 Met Gala’s most extraordinary looks? Come for Rihanna in Comme des Garçons or Cara Delevingne in Chanel. Stay to feel the sense of leisure and contentment P. Diddy exhibited while lounging on the Met Gala stairs Monday night.
That’s the news for this sunny Tuesday in L.A. What are you seeing out there? Send tips, comments, and a Howard Stern gift basket to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @thatrebecca.