Carson Daly Defies WGA Strike – Starting Show Up Again To Save Jobs

Carson-Daily-WgaThe WGA is none too please with Carson DaDalyly right now. As most of you know, the Writer’s Guild of America is on strike, which means none of their members are allowed to work right now… and that has shut down a lot of movie productions, and TV shows, including late night talk shows that use writer’s to pen the monologues and jokes.

However, all is not united. Ellen DeGeneres aroused the ire of the Union when she made the decision to continue on with her show one day after shutting it down for the Writers Strike. She’s been called a lot of names by a lot of people in the WGA, and while I am certainly no fan of Ellen DeGeneres, it always amazes me how Unions use bullying and fear to keep their members in line.

Now another show is set to re-start shooting. Carson Daly’s “Last Call” is going to go back into production. It should be mentioned that Carson is NOT a member of the WGA nor is he using anyone that is in the WGA. This is not his fight, it’s not his union.

On top of all that, NBC announced that starting as early as this coming Monday, they’re going to have to start firing people (the non-writers) because there isn’t any work. Apparently this spurred Daly to decide to start shooting again:

Defending his decision to resume his show, Carson said in a statement released Wednesday that, otherwise, “roughly 75 staff and crew would have lost their jobs. “As a non-WGA member I feel I have supported my four Guild writers and their strike by suspending production for a month,” he said. “While I continue to support their cause, I can’t, in all good conscience, stand by and let that happen to the vast majority of my loyal staff and crew.”

Damn right. It’s all well and good to stand with some people in principle… but when that “principle” starts costing the jobs and livelihoods of OTHER PEOPLE, then it’s time to get back to your own business. Daly isn’t a WGA member, it’s not his fight, and there is no reason why 75 other people who have nothing to do with this fight should lose their jobs because of a fight that isn’t theirs. I say Daly is 100% doing the right thing. He showed his support for the WGA by going off air for a month… but now he has to take care of his people.

Still, the WGA has started attacking Daly… a guy who is not a part of their union and has no obligation to them. Sad.

Anyway, as most of you who read The Movie Blog know, I think the Writer’s are GROSSLY underpaid and insultingly under-appreciated by movie fans and studios alike. They deserve much more compensation and recognition than they get. I personally think they’re striking for the wrong reasons though, trying to perpetuate an ancient and flawed residual system that has proved over and over and over again doesn’t work and is systemically unfair to writers who do superior work yet get paid less than others who only gain success because of the work of other industries. It’s laughable that the writers for Transformers (which was a major success because of the visual effects far more than the writing) should stand to make more money than the people who wrote “No Country For Old Men” or “American Gangster”. But that’s an argument for another time.

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35 thoughts on “Carson Daly Defies WGA Strike – Starting Show Up Again To Save Jobs

  1. “I still hold a grudge for TRL. He should be apologizing to us everyday for that shit.”

    I frequently hear Carson Daly credited with inventing the TRL show concept, but the funny thing about that is that I saw a show exactly like TRL – except it was actually good – as early as July 1995 in Quebec. It was on a music channel called Musique Plus which I watched frequently while I was there.

    Even the set was the same, down to the wall of windows looking out on the street. The very first time I ever saw TRL I thought, “Hey, this is just like that show on Musique Plus…except it sucks!”

  2. Oh Alfie, there you go again,

    There is a large difference between someone who creates a concept and someone just commissioned to script out a concept.

    3 monkeys with 2 pots of coffee could have written the script to Transformers. The screenwriters did not CREATE the Transformers. The transformers was already a multi-million doallar concept that was going to make. The screenplay did not make that movie a success. The BRAND and the VFX made that movie a success, and your notion that the monkeys who wrote the script should stand to be rewrded for something they didn’t create, or were responsible for is confusing.

    Hey, if The Transformers didn’t already exist and the writers came to a studio with this concept and script, and the studios see it as a multi-million dollar idea, then that’s great. But don’t confuse contract writers with those who create their own properties.

    And again, your assertion of “YOU CAN”T KNOW WHAT IT’S WORTH UNTIL IT’S OUT” is 100% true, and yet 100% refuted by the fact that it’s overridden by common practice. Producers estimate, budget, and then movie forward. If the producers are wrong, they take the hit, if they’re right they reap the rewards.

    Residuals do… not… work. never really have, and they never will. Someday it will change, and talented writers will be much better off for it.

  3. john do you seriously think any studio exec is ever going to sit down with 2 scripts in front of him and say “o.k. so we have script a and b. A is a loud, noisy, stupid thing about giant robots and is going to make us undreds of millions script b is a violent, deep, serious crime drama which will get great reviews , awards talk but finanacially won’t even ,make the catering costs of script a……o.k. lets buy them but make sure there is pay parity between the writers of a and b because b is artiscally superior”

    never. ever. going to happen.

    you said about studios deciding a scripts worth:
    “The studios do it with every single solitary film. They estimate a worth of a film before setting a budget for every movie they make, before hiring the actors or visual effects companies or the number of extras.”

    there is a big difference between determine the worth of a film and determining how much a studio is willing to spend on the film based on that script. a huge difference.

    scream was a huge finanacil hit. the writer sold his script very cheaply because at that time slasher films were not big and it was jokey and they had no idea how well it was going to do so they paid what they were willing to pay but when it came out turns out the script was worth a lot more than they paid because it was a gigantic unexpected hit for dimension.

    and in this business the only way to ever judge what something is ultimatelty worth is after it has been released. that is the only way.

    and that is why residuals will always be in place no matter what genius tries to change the world!!

  4. art is only as valuable as what people will pay for it, which is why the residual system is crucial (albeit flawed). in every single field shit can rise to the top and make more money than something more deserved – yes its unfair, but its way more fair than someone making the next Star Wars and getting screwed years later because he didnt have the foresight of what the public would like when he sold the script.

    you’re trading one unfair system for an extremely less fair one. its such a dumb idea i cant believe Scott Holleran didn’t think of it first.

  5. Hey Alfie,

    You said:

    you see without a script the film doesn’t get made.

    Yup, and without a cameraman, no movie gets made. Without a location manager, no movie gets made. Without a lighting tech, no movie gets made. It’s just that simple. That argument doesn’t fly.

    There are MANY people and roles whom without a movie can not get made. Those who do their jobs the best get paid more and get more gigs (in general). The screenwriter is no different.

    Who should get paid more? The excellent pitcher who plays on a terrible team that loses a lot, or the bad pitcher who plays on an amazing team and wins the championship? Obviously the better pitcher, because sane people don’t reward the poor work of people for the excellent work of the others around them.

    “But John…” you’ll say. “If the bad pitcher didn’t pitch, there would be no game”. True, and thus he should be compensated for playing his part, but (forgive my use of caps lock here) HIS COMPENSATION IS MADE RELATIVE TO THE PERFORMANCE HE HIMSELF GIVES AND NOT ON THE PERFORMANCE OF OTHER PEOPLE IN THEIR ROLES AROUND HIM.

    You also said:

    i am glad your opinion is the minority

    Geniuses who change the world often are. :)

  6. Of course John, i understand the concept of the word ‘union’, i just find it hard to believe that every single WGA member feels the same way on the issue. I believe that there are members who accept their job as a writer as exactly that; a job that they do, get paid for, spend it, go back to work and round the circle goes. I have to believe that there are members who do wonder where this battle for residuals will end and their strike is doing nothing except halting the production machine and endangering a hell of a lot of jobs.

    I find the whole concept of a 100% united union who all agree with eachother complete bull.

  7. it does make the script worth more john whether you like it or not.

    you see without a script the film doesn’t get made.

    no transformers script…no film. it is really that simple.

    we can argue all day about whether or not the script was good…well actually i agree with you….it wasn’ was not a very good script….in fact it was terrible but it was a script that got greenlit and ultimately wound being a film that made hundreds of millions of dollars.

    so the writers should get a cut.

    until films with no script whatsoever repeatedly make hundreds of millions it is not going to change.

    the script is the blur print of a film or t.v. show.

    no scripts….no films.

    i am glad your opinion is the minority.

  8. Where to begin…let’s start here. With some of the comments from the int’l friends.

    … the Coen Brothers wrote “No Country For Old Men.” These are writers that certainly command very high fees no matter what they’re writing.

    I’m a bit confused here, int’l friends.
    (1) What script did the Cohens write or re-write that was directed by someone other than Joel Cohen?
    (2) The Cohens tend to stick to modest to low budgets
    (3) they tend to produce/co-produce thier own films.


    I’m not a big fan of Carson Daly. But I happen to agree with his actions in this regard. If Conan O Brien (who I am a fan of) chooses to pay out of his own wallet for his crew to stick around, so be it. Personally, I think it is the networks knee-jerk reaction to the strike itself to lay off production crew..and as a indirect result makes the strikers look like bad guys. Look, let be clear so there isn’t any misunderstanding I’m not a fan of Ellen. I detest some of the ways she reportedly treats her writers who are striking.

    But if she, or any other hosts chooses not to have opening stand-up, skits etc. But simply wants to have other guests, so be it. The pickings for such guests maybe scarce, say the band plays two numbers instead of one. Perhaps it could even go “live”, and things said is unscripted and on the moment (at least with a five second delay)

    These are “talk” shows. People talk. People are interviewed. If a talk show host (such as Jay Leno) honors the line, so be it. That’s cool in my book. But I think lashing out on Carson -even though I don’t give one bean about him- is uncalled for.

    If need be, show disapproval later on.

  9. Hey Alfie,

    You said:

    “how do you judge a scripts worth to make sure you are paid appropriately??? how does that get determined.”

    The studios do it with every single solitary film. They estimate a worth of a film before setting a budget for every movie they make, before hiring the actors or visual effects companies or the number of extras.

    The MOVIE “The Transformers” was worth more than the MOVIE “No Country For Old Men”, but that does not make the SCRIPT better or more valuable.

    And you’ve got it backwards when you suggest:

    basically you suggest some kind of socialist movie making scheme

    Sorry man, buy what YOU’RE suggesting is socialist. Where everyone gets paid based on the work of OTHER people instead of your individual contribution.

    The box office results is not a reflection of the quality or value of a script. Value is determined on it’s own merits. Do you think if Bay used tall guys in cardboard box costumes in Transformers instead of the CGI guys from ILM that anyone would have gone to see the film?

    To argue that the Transformers script was worth more because of the work that OTHER people did, is like saying the paint I sold at my paint store is worth more because Michael Angelo used it to paint one of his masterpieces… even if my paint is inferior to the paint of another store and the masterpiece would have been even better and more timeless had he used paint from there instead of from me.

    The residual system does not work. It’s unfair to writers, it doesn’t base compensation on individual contributions or merits.

  10. Hey Time Waster

    You said:

    Secondly, I feel like you need to actually pay attention to the issue before making comments like yours. Basically, the writers are striking because the studios are refusing to pay for residuals on shows broadcast on the internet, and want more than three cents on the dollar for shows/movies downloaded from places like iTunes.

    Well Time Waster, YOU need to pay attention to my arguement before trying to debate it with me. I know why the writers are striking… and my whole point is that they shouldn’t be striking to keep a flaw residual system alive that just doesn’t work.

  11. As a couple of posts said, the crew isn’t making more $ with digital distribution, and they work just as hard and are as dedicated to their craft as the writers.

    I also “enjoy” hearing about all of the mainstream writers that are just out to help their fellow writers.

    And regarding the writers of American Gangster and No Country for Old Men and The Transformers, first of all these writers will have residuals coming in for years from these “mainstream” Hollywood titles. The strike is more about the writers who only hit once in a while or have a “cult” hit that becomes popular years after the the show has left production.

    I once had a conversation with Kevin Smith about “independent movie making”. He told me back in 1999 that he was still making high 5 figures off Clerks per year, because he was creditted for so many more things than directing, editting, writing etc…And I’m sure he continues to do so off residuals.

  12. sorry for the rant…basically you suggest some kind of socialist movie making scheme that treats everyone fairly and while that would be lovely it is just not realistic.

    the bigger the budget ..the bigger the box office the more money people make. thats just a fact of life.
    if your product is more successful then someone elses then you make more money. its that simple. you can’t base it on taste. one mans oatmeal is another mans ….. something that doesn’t taste very nice.


    beowulf, which i just saw today, is one of the worst. if it wasn’t for the 3D i would have walked out. the 3D is the only thing it has going for it. without it is just a boring fantasy film with soulless animation.
    I can’t wait to see what jackson, cameron, lucas etc do with the 3D technology as it truly is amazing but man we better get some better films or people are going to switch off to it. beowulf will not win too many people. I love zemeckis but man he needs to step away from the motion capture and make a live action film again.

  13. the writers of transformers will make more than the writers of no country for old men…residuals or not. up front they will have been paid more before a residual was returned.

    the director will make more….the producers will make more….the gaffers will make more…..that is just a fact of big budget film making versus indie/low budget film making. there is more money in big studio films so of course people make more.

    does anyone believe adam sandler is a better actor than ben kingsley???
    of course not. guess who gets paid more…

    if the writers of films like american gangster or no country want a big pay day they should apply to write transformers 2.

    if they want to write something real from the heart then let them write..get paid and if the film is a hit good for them..they get their tiny little well deserved slice….

    the bigger the budget the more people get paid…that goes across the board. it is just a fact.

    if you think getting rid of residuals is going to make studios pay writers more you are crazy.

    plus how do you judge a scripts worth to make sure you are paid appropriately??? how does that get determined.
    what if you single handedly create the new star wars….all your imagination but the studio only brought the script off you for a couple of hundred grand..then it goes on to become a gigantic franchise worth millions and millions ….you seriously don’t believe the writer deserves a cut?
    I just cannot get my head around that.

    your argument that the writers of transformers don’t deserve more than the writers of no country is based purely on taste. in the real business world it is based on dollars.
    this romantic idea that you should take away residuals and make sure people are paid more fairly just won’t work because the success of a film is always unknown.

    say what you want about the script for transformers (it was bad) but they wrote a story that made hundreds and hundreds of millions and as much as we can say the only reason it was a success was due to the effects that is impossible to determine.
    people would not be loving this film if it was just an effects reel. the entire package altogether made it the success it was….and yes the effects were important but film, when you strip it down, is storytelling.

    and once again the studios are always going to make the bigger chunk of the money. this is not about greed. this is about the fact that there currently is a residual system in place and the studios are making a ton of money from digital yet they are LYING to the talent responsible for this money and claiming they don’t know how much they are making.

    in some instances they are claiming they are not making anything so there is nothing to share but if thats the case why not give the writers a percent..if nothing is being made why not give them a cut of nothing and if something does get made they get a little slice? why not do that?

    because they are lying.
    watch this clip….one guy even knows almost to the dollar how much his studio will make from digital…

    they are lying.

  14. John – you’re incredibly misinformed and thankfully don’t represent the opinion of the majority of people here in America.

    First, I don’t know if the writers of “Transformers” deserve more or less than the writers of “No Country For Old Men” or “American Gangster.” For starters, Steven Zaillian wrote “American Gangster” and the Coen Brothers wrote “No Country For Old Men.” These are writers that certainly command very high fees no matter what they’re writing.

    Secondly, I feel like you need to actually pay attention to the issue before making comments like yours. Basically, the writers are striking because the studios are refusing to pay for residuals on shows broadcast on the internet, and want more than three cents on the dollar for shows/movies downloaded from places like iTunes.

    The internet is going to completely replace the networks, Tivo, Blockbuster, Netflix, and any other way you watch TV and movies these days. If the writers don’t make a stand now, they’re going to be way behind the eight ball in years to come.

    And Carson Daly is probably the least charismatic television personality since Mr. Ed. Does the world need his freaking show? The real reason he’s going back to work is that NBC threatened to cancel his show if he doesn’t come back, not out of the kindness of his heart to his staff. And out of the 75 people on his show, the one person who’s going to have a hard time finding another job if his show does go off the air is Carson Daly himself.

  15. I just read that Conan O’Brien will be paying his entire staff out of his own pocket since NBC will stop doing so next week….that is classy IMO.

  16. I’m not a viewer of the Carson show, but I gotta side with him on this for sure. There’s no reason for him to be sidelined due to this strike, and he’s got people relying on him for their livelihoods, so easy decision. Get back to work.

    As for the strike itself, well, I gotta side with some of the points John made earlier, where there’s no need for royalties to be paid well after the writers have been paid for their work. They want royalties, buy stocks in the companies!

  17. america’s ecenomic system is the best format in the world. No argument their. You may think their are flaws in it but no one around here majored in ecenomics so they would not understand why and how it works. It works this way for a reason just except what you cant comprehend.

  18. What I really hate about this WGA strike is that the WGA believes that they need a bigger piece of the pie. All the while, most of the crew (of whom gets paid the much less for doing so much more) are jobless.

    All Ellen and Carson Daly are doing is just giving the people who need work the most some effing jobs!

  19. I agree with Phil, that same idea rounded my mind, if i’m a writer and don’t care about the strike… why would I stop working ??? :S

    Anyway, he’s not a member and if people collateral to the strike would get affected (like getting fired or released) then it’s a good thing what Carson is doing.

    And I understand the reason’s behind the WGA’s strike, but those guys need to understand not all writers just because they are writers NEED to stand behind them. If you don’t agree with them, then there’s no reason for being of their Union, therefore you don’t need to stand UNITED with nobody, if you just simply don’t agree with them.

  20. This is some heartening news. I felt the biggest victims out of all of this were the fans and the people who work from check to check and don’t even make the money that writers do. Still as much as I like and respect Carson Daly for this…I still hold a grudge for TRL. He should be apologizing to us everyday for that shit.

  21. Hey Phil,

    Well, the whole idea of a “Union” is that you stand “United” with your fellow workers. Without that unity, you have no strength at the bargaining table with management.

    Thing is… Carson isn’t a member of the Union

  22. Good for Carson, this is great to see. This is the one thing that’s been puzzling me about the writers strike; if you are a writer and you don’t agree with the strike, why do you have to support it? Why can’t you carry on working? Why can’t your union support you and your choices (which i would imagine is part of their charter)? Do the WGA bully you until you fall into line? Are 100% of the WGA members really behind this strike or are we just meant to think they are?

    Sorry if i’m looking at this a little too simply but i just can’t get my head around that bullshit.

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