Is getting the Letterman show back on the air more important than keeping Hollywood's movie writers churning out sequels? Apparently so. Before the recent side deal brokered by the WGA to put Letterman's writers back to work -- Leno can't make such a deal because his show is owned by NBC, while Letterman's show is owned by his own production company -- Nikki Finke speculated over whether the move would cause serious rifts within the ranks of the WGA, specifically between television and film writers, and now that seems to be happening. Finke says that when the deal was being considered, she was contacted by "well-known WGA members, especially feature film writers, angry that the WGA was even contemplating such an agreement." Now that it's happened, she's quoting one unnamed "successful screenwriter" who tells her "I'm going back to work. I have gotten five phone calls tonight from feature writers and every single one of them has said some variation on, 'Bullshit on this. Why am I looking at staying out of work until April when these guys are going to start picking up paychecks on Tuesdays?"
The writer goes on to point out that the Letterman deal creates a wedge for stars to flock to Letterman's show to promote their products -- SAG won't have a problem with that since WGA has given Dave's show their blessing -- thus diluting the effect of the ongoing strike. "If you're going to strike GM, then you strike GM," the anonymous writer says. "You don't say 'We're going to give a waiver to the guys making pickup trucks because they're really good guys. You don't maintain solidarity by letting a handful of guys go back to work."
Finke also says that many angry film writers like that one are now planning to go Financial Core, which means returning to work while using a legal protection to prevent the guild from punishing them. Under the law, union members only have to pay their dues to be union members -- they can't legally be punished for crossing picket lines as long as they inform the union that they are exercising that right.