Chuck Norris Jokes

I’m a sucker for Chuck Norris jokes. I heard a few today that I hadn’t heard before…

Chuck Norris once walked down the street with an erection. There were no survivors.

Chuck Norris isn’t hung like a horse… Horses are hung like Chuck Norris.

If you misspell "Chuck Norris" on Google, it doesn’t ask, "Did you mean
Chuck Norris?" It just says, "Run while you still think you have a

Chuck Norris challenged Lance Armstrong to a "Who has more testicles contest"…Chuck Norris won by 3.

Variety Survey

Variety is doing a survey of its readers. Here’s most of it (there were a couple of questions that I didn’t correctly copy-and-paste…but the
browser wouldn’t let me go back to get’em. If I recall correctly, one asked if I belonged to a
Guild and, if so, which one and the other asked me if I was Hispanic):

Read more

A Song for Spenser

Like a white knight
strong and hopeful
lives by his code
proud and noble
Spenser For Hire
Rough and Tumble
He’d gladly risk his life to save humanity
he still believes in chivalry
on ABC

Those are just some of the cringe-inducing lyrics of this inane song cooked up by ABC to promote the premiere of SPENSER FOR HIRE…

Who Says There’s Anything Wrong with a Network Affiliate Owning a City’s Only Newspaper?

I liked Ken Levine’s observation about the Los Angeles Times’ coverage of the WGA Strike:

Good news! The LA TIMES has begun its Oscar coverage with a weekly
special section called THE ENVELOPE. Meanwhile, strike coverage has
been relegated to the Business Section. I somehow can’t see THE DETROIT
FREE-PRESS not running stories about an auto strike on page one. But
then again GM doesn’t own the DETROIT FREE-PRESS.

The Times is owned by Tribune, which also owns KTLA, one of the major affiliates of CW, one of the TV networks hit by the strike.

Is Variety Publishing Lies?

Nikki Finke posts a brutal analysis of Variety’s strike coverage, accusing the trade publication and its reporters of printing total falsehoods.

The trade’s Jason Blairs — oh, excuse me, Josef Adalian and Dave McNary — keep inventing stories which purport to show that less than 2 weeks into the strike wither the WGA’s resolve is withering, and/or its writers are going back to work, and/or even its late show iconic hosts are going to double-cross their teams of scribes. Just one problem: those stories are either totally fabricated or highly exaggerated.

[…]First, there was McNary’s article wrongly claiming the WGA was backing off its position on changing on Reality TV. (See my previous,  WGAW Says Variety Scoop Has No Reality). Then, there was Adalian’s and McNary’s fabricated story about The Young And The Restless soap opera writers returning to work by opting for "financial core" status with the WGA.

Both stories turned out to be totally false. Variety’s tiny correction on the soap opera story was buried in the back pages a few days later.

My take on this is that Variety’s so-called "reporters" are so used to retyping press releases and passing them off as "reporting" that they have no idea how to actually report a story. So they are simply publishing whatever their studio and networks sources feed them without bothering to do the basic work of a reporter.

But they also have no incentive to do any actual reporting. I know what I am talking about. Twenty years ago, I worked as a reporter for a trade publication. I know the pressure the advertising side exerts on the editorial side. The wall between the two in the trade publication world is very, very thin. By nature, trade publication rely entirely on advertising by the industry they are reporting on, which raises all kinds of ethical issues every single day. The fact is that the editors are under enormous pressure not to piss off the people who keep them in business…and those people aren’t screenwriters.

On the Yellow Brick Road

Here are some pictures from the NBC picket line this morning. I’m the yellow munchkin.

A woman writer asked me if it was true that John Edwards was coming to the NBC picket line later in the afternoon. I said that it was. She beamed.Pb150079

"I love him so much," she said. "I think it’s great that he can talk to the dead."

"That’s John Edward," I said. "This is John Edwards."
"There’s only one  famous John Edward," she said. "And he talks to dead people."
"This John Edwards is running for President," I said.
She gave me a long look. "Does he talk to dead people, too?"

That was an honest-to-God conversation I had. On a picket line with elderly munchkins handing out donut holes. This is a strange world we live in.

Live from the picket line

I am at NBC in Burbank this morning, nearing the end of my shift. At about 8, a guy parked across the street and came over to us. His hands were in his pockets and he looked uneasy.. 
He told us he was an editor and that he, and many other IATSE members, were embarrassed and outraged by the conduct of their exec director, especially by the letter that was released today. I didn’t know anything about the letter…I slipped out of the house without reading the paper. He wanted us to know that the editors were with us in spirit and we thanked him.
An hour later, a van pulled up and out spilled three original munchkins, one in her costume from The Wizard of Oz. The three of them must have been in their late 80s and sang the lollipop guild song as they walked with us.

"The lollipop guild is with you," said the lollipop kid and he handed me a donut hole.

John Edwards is coming by later but I doubt that he can top that.  Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

The AMPTP Likes to Buy Pages in Newspapers

The AMPTP took out more full-page ads in national newspapers today in an attempt to cast the WGA as irrational, unreasonable, and greedy. The problem is that the AMPTP can’t do that and tell the truth at the same time.  So guess how they dealt with the problem.

Here is how Patric Verrone, president of the WGA, responded to the latest ads:

* They say that technology and the Internet is rapidly
changing how Hollywood works. This is true, which is why we need a new formula to
determine compensation.

* They say that writers are already paid residuals for
digital downloads. It’s true some companies are trying to pay us for downloading shows we’ve
created at the abysmal DVD rate of a third of a penny per dollar earned by the companies. But we have
never agreed to this formula, and we have initiated arbitration.


* They say we are asking for a 700% increase over
what we currently receive for digital downloads. This is more than misleading. Again, some companies are trying to pay us the DVD rate. And we are asking to receive
2.5 cents per dollar. The only way to characterize our request as a 700% increase is if you accept as a
given the low ball amount they’re trying to foist on us.


* They say they have offered to pay us a percentage of the
revenue from Internet streaming of shows we’ve created. Here’s the truth about their
offer. We would get no share of revenue for the first six weeks that our shows air. In other words, they’re offering us a share of revenue after there is little revenue left.


* They say that no labor agreement in history has given
writers, actors, or directors a portion of advertising dollars. Nowhere in any of our proposals have we
ever asked for a share of ad dollars. As with every residual, we are asking for a share of the revenue
the corporations receive.

The AMPTP is dealing with the issues by spending lots of money on misleading, full-page ads in national newspapers. The WGA would rather deal with the issues by talking about them over a negotiating table.

The Medium is the Message

Here’s my friend writer Diane Ademu-John (back row, second from the left) and the cast of her show MEDIUM on the picket line. She has already logged an astonishing 40 hours of picketing (compared to my meager twelve). That’s why she’s in such great shape and I’m, um, not.

I’ll be out at CBS in Studio City or NBC in Burbank tomorrow.