Strike Watch: Peter Gwynn, John Oliver, Brian Stack on WNYC

What are TV writers doing now? WNYC’s Brian Lehrer convened a round table of striking writers. Peter Gwynn of The Colbert Report, John Oliver of The Jon Stewart Show and Brian Stack of Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Concern was expressed by all the guests about the non-writers — the crew — who are suffering as a result of the strike. The Los Angeles Times — which Brian Stack thought would be sympathetic — did not cover the 5,000 people in front of Fox studios last week, and the writers all thought that was a glaring omission. Lehrer asked at one point if they are getting any invisible itches as a result of not being able to scratch their comedy bones:

Peter Gwynn: ”Last week … items went missing from the Reagan library. That one got me a bit because I know if (The Colbert Report was on), he would have admitted that he stole one.”


On the subject of the explosion of striking tv writer blogs and viral videos, Peter Gwynn said that he thought they help get out the message of stories left out of the media (like the LA times omission). ”I think creating awareness helps,” Gwynn said.

–Not every member of the WGA is a wealthy TV writer. Peter Gwynn: ”Half of the union is unemployed at any given time … and they get their money from residuals.”

— They discussed the failed Colbert Presidential run. Gwynn was disappointed initially that the run was thwarted, then further disappointed that the writers could not discuss it on the air (because of the timing of the strike) Peter Gwynn: ”It was so much fun to be able to view a Presidential run from the inside.”

–Digital revenues may not be all that great right now, but they will be someday. John Oliver: ”I think upon degrees of monies … are (right now ) relatively small. (The strike) is for the future … our writer’s writers.”

John Oliver: No one really wants to be striking down in Battery Park … beautiful park.

— Also: FishbowlLA interviews the mysterious ”Hoffa” of the Writer-Strike blog