Daily Show Negotiates Writers Guild Contract

Last night, just as The Daily Show With Jon Stewart beat out The Colbert Report for an Emmy Award, The Daily Show writers were awarded with perhaps something more valuable to their bourbon-and-cigarettes-aided jokes: a raise — and a pension.

The Writer’s Guild of America announced it had reached an agreement with The Daily Show after 10 months of negotiations, bringing the show in line with writers working on other late night comedy-variety shows.

The full release:

The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) reached agreement today with Hello Doggie, Inc., producer of Comedy Central’s Daily Show With Jon Stewart, for the show’s writers to become Writers Guild members. Hello Doggie will sign the Guild’s “Minimum Basic Agreement,” which will cover the 14 writers on the show who are becoming WGAE members.

Under the agreement, which is expected to be approved formally by the WGAE’s Council and the show’s writers, the writers will see major gains in their compensation, bringing it into line with writers working on other late night comedy-variety shows. Under special provisions, the writers will now be paid residuals for additional runs beyond the first telecast of the show and for its foreign broadcast and other exploitations of the show.

“We negotiated in good faith with Comedy Central for ten months, and I am proud to say that both sides acted fairly and professionally,” says Chris Albers, president of the Writers Guild of America, East. “I am thrilled that the writers of The Daily Show have finally achieved a union contract. They have received critical acclaim for years and now they finally have the same protections and advantages their colleagues have on similar shows. I would also like to thank Jon Stewart who stood by his writers and insisted they be properly compensated and treated fairly. We could not be happier to welcome The Daily Show writers into our union.”

“Congratulations to the writers and producers of The Daily Show,” says Patric M. Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America, west. “At a time when networks and production companies are looking for new ways to keep writers from getting Guild benefits, it is wonderful to be able to welcome this show and these writers into the fold. I expect it to be a sign of things to come.”

“Not only is this contract good for the writers, but these writers are good for the Writers Guild,” says Mona Mangan, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East. “e are very proud to welcome 14 very talented and committed new members into the Guild.”

Also as part of the agreement, Hello Doggie will now contribute to he Producer-Writers Guild of America Pension Plan. The writers previously had no pension benefits. Although they had company health benefits, as WGAE members, the writers will now receive coverage by the multi-employer Writers Guild-Industry Health Fund.

The agreement was negotiated by a committee comprised of Daily Show writers Rich Blomquist, Steve Bodow, Tim Carvell, Jason Reich and Jason Ross, WGAE President Chris Albers, WGAE Executive Director Mona Mangan, and Assistant Executive Director James Kaye. Alexander P. Rosenberg and Joella West were the attorneys representing The Daily Show.

The Writers Guild of America, East and the Writers Guild of America, west are labor unions representing writers in motion picture, broadcast, cable, and news media industries in both entertainment and news. The Writers Guilds are active in legislative activities on the state, federal, and international levels with a special focus on globalization, labor, communications, and copyrights. They also conduct a number of programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to, and on behalf of writers.