The Strike, Day 12: Picketing Politicians! Marching Munchkins! And Talk-Show Backchanelling!

As the second week of the WGA strike comes to a close and a picketing-free weekend draws rapidly nearer, we offer this Friday morning round-up of what's going on in the world of idling writers, their high-profile friends, and their sworn studio enemies:

· The Guild is hosting a Picketing With Hollywood's Third Choice For the Democratic Presidential Nomination event at NBC headquarters in Burbank today, where Senator John Edwards will march with striking writers, demonstrating that he cares much more about their plight than his all-talk, no-picket rivals who've enjoyed greater popularity within the industry thus far. []
· Munchkin picket! In what will be a stirring show of inter-union solidarity, three original members of the Lollipop Guild will be lending their support to the writers walking the line outside NBC Studios this morning. They will, quite appropriately, be passing out Dunkin Donut Munchkins to the assembled WGA protestors. [United Hollywood]

· TV obsessives will be gathering at Universal for an Impromptu Fan Day, assigned to picket different gates according to their show allegiances. Swarming Battlestar Gallactica devotees have scored the coveted Main Gate duty. []
· The AMPTP would like to set the record straight again on the matter of digital downloads, once again chiding writers for their ongoing lack of appreciation for the generous one-third of a penny residual they receive. Also, it is noted the difference between the one-third of a penny they're currently getting and the two-and-a-half pennies they're asking for is a 700! PERCENT! INCREASE! Have you fainted dead away in horror yet? "First, how should writers be paid when content is offered in "new media" formats, such as on the Internet? It is important to make clear that writers currently do receive residuals for digital downloading (regardless of whether the download is temporary or permanent). That means every time anyone pays for movies or television programs on the Internet or through other new media channels, writers are getting paid. So the notion that we are not sharing new media revenue with writers is simply not correct." [AMPTP]
· Producers of the late-night talk shows have been backchanneling their little hearts out, trying to figure out when it would be safe to return to the air with first-run, writerless episodes. [Variety]
· Meanwhile, the talk-show hosts try to figure out how to keep their nonwriting staffs paid. [NY Times]
· Universal Media Studios has brought down the force majeure (a French idiom loosely translated as "you are fucked") hammer upon the casts of Bionic Woman, 30 Rock and The Office, suspending their contracts. [THR]
· The casts of 30 Rock and SNL will be staging WGA benefit performances of their shows at NY's Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Is this legal? The answer: Maybe? Will NBC goons bearing Peacock-logo-emblazoned riot shields and tear gas grenades show up to disrupt the unauthorized use of their intellectual property? Possibly! [THR ESQ]
· Get in the Room's job-death toll is creeping towards the 250 mark. [Get Back In That Room]
· 93-year-old Meet Me in St. Louis screenwriter Irv Brecher explains that he's been waiting for writers to get a fair deal since 1938. [YouTube]


[Photo: AP]