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This is Day 143 of the WGA strike and Day 70 of the SAG-AFTRA strike.
Writers picketing ABC’s The View on Thursday in New York City reacted guardedly to news that negotiations between their striking union and the production studios were continuing for a second consecutive day this week.
They cited an earlier effort at restarting contract talks that quickly broke off led to more public sparring between the Writers Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
“You can’t ever guess too much because every time it seems like the tone is different, it’s like, ‘all right, nothing happened,’” writer, actor and comedian Larry Wilmore told Deadline outside the ABC television studio complex in Manhattan where The View has continued production despite the guild designating the daytime talk mainstay as a struck show.
Rumors were circulating Wednesday night that the strike could be over as soon as today, Wilmore said, while cautioning that he had no inside knowledge about negotiations.
Bill Scheft, a staff writer and WGA shop steward for Late Show with David Letterman, told Deadline that he’s heard about hints of recent progress, despite hostilities among the chiefs of the streaming and legacy studios that could complicate talk with writers.
“You don’t think Netflix wants ABC to go belly up? To me that’s the inherent problem,” Scheft said. “But everything on the other side that I hear seems that it’s kind of for real.”
In the meantime, the pickets continued. More than four dozen sign-waving people circled entrances to ABC on both sides of the building as black SUVs with tinted windows pulled into garage entrances. Actor-writer Stephanie D’Abruzzo of Sesame Street, writer Cristina Kinon of The Drew Barrymore Show and inaugural-season Saturday Night Live writer Alan Zweibel were among the WGA members Deadline spotted at Thursday’s demonstration.
“It’s pretty fantastic that on Day 143 there’s still so much energy and so much support and so many folks out here,” Micharne Cloughley, a Guild strike captain who wrote for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. “So I’m still feeling very encouraged.”
The other, longer line outside was for ticketed audience members: As many as 100 people were waiting to be let inside for Thursday’s taping of The View. Some stood reading strike leaflets handed to them by picketers. Bob Eagleson of New Jersey wore a WGA strike button pinned to his hooded sweatshirt. “I’m sympathetic to the writers,” Eagleson told Deadline. But he still planned to see The View in person.
Wearing strike pins into Drew Barrymore’s briefly re-started show got some audience guests kicked out of the taping. Eagleson was waved in alongside other ticket holders for The View shortly after 8:30 a.m.
RELATED: Picketers Hit ‘The View’ In NYC: “Huge Slap In The Face Of Labor That They Are On The Air”
Panelists on The View including moderator Whoopi Goldberg have maintained that they’re not strikebreaking because they’re making do without the services of the show’s Guild-represented writing staff.
“Trying to find loopholes to continue filming doesn’t help a strike,” Cloughley said. “But for now, we will just keep showing up and picketing and making sure that people know it is a struck show.”
Wilmore stressed that news of a deal ending the strike would be welcome.
“A strike this long isn’t good for anybody but hopefully a good deal will come out of it,” he said. “Everybody wants the strike to be over, so let’s hope it’s over soon — let’s put it like that. But I have no idea what’s going on. Last night there’s these [rumors] that it might be done today. If that’s the case, I hope so.
“I don’t want to get my hopes up,” Wilmore said. “But I got my fingers crossed.”