Saturday, January 26, 2008

Striking writers take act to D.C.

WASHINGTON -- The striking writers behind Jon Stewart's fake news show and Stephen Colbert's fake talk show came here to explain to real lawmakers Wednesday a strike that has crippled creative television and threatens to wreck the Oscars.

But knowing it can be difficult to get a lawmaker's attention when not in a Learjet or on the links, the brains behind two of Comedy Central's most-watched shows couched the issues in terms Washington could understand: a mock debate.

On one side, in shirts, was the striking Writers Guild of America, played by "Daily Show" writers Rob Kutner, Tim Carvell and Jason Ross. On the other side, in suits, was the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, played by "The Colbert Report" writers Michael Brumm, Peter Grosz and Tom Purcell.

Crashing out of the starting gates, the shirts argued it would cost the suits less than 1% of their total revenue to give the writers everything they wanted. For Paramount Pictures, that comes to $4.6 million, or "half the amount it takes to get Reese Witherspoon into a movie."

"I ask you," one writer noted, "which is more important to a movie -- a script, or half of Reese Witherspoon?"

The studio suits thought for a second.

"Which half?"

Watch the video here.

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