"Our membership has voted, and writers can go back to work," said WGA West President Patrick Varrone. "This was not a strike we wanted, but one we had to conduct in order to win jurisdiction and establish appropriate residuals for writing in new media and on the Internet. Those advances now give us a foothold in the digital age."
The 14-week standoff between writers and producers had several casualties: The Golden Globes had no ceremony, no ratings and no ad revenue; most TV shows couldn't run their usual February sweeps episodes, which are particularly vital to local stations for revenue; the late night talk show landscape was barren for two months before David Letterman brokered a deal with the WGA for his writers to return to work.
As it happens, the Letterman/Worldwide Pants agreement with the Guild set the foundation for other independent producers, which helped lead to a contract renegotiation for the Directors Guild, which in turn helped provide a final blueprint to end the writers' strike. Thanks, Dave.
Letterman's network boss, Les Moonves, told Variety that, in spite of the disagreements, the reason for them is easy to see. "I think there was some miscommunication early on. It was important that we started speaking eye to eye. Ultimately, getting the percentage of streaming revenue was important to (WGA), and I understand it."
Even though this is a day for celebration in the industry, the vote was not unaminous. In all, 92.5% of writers approved the new contract, with 3,492 members of the Guild voting yes.
The other 283 voted for Dennis Kucinich.