More than 125 striking showrunners from shows including "Ugly Betty," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Lost" turned up at the gates of Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, demanding a fair deal from the studios.
"Every day the producers don't give us a fair and decent deal is a wasted day in Hollywood," "Ugly Betty" creator and executive producer Silvio Horta said.
Wearing a T-shirt reading "Wasted Days" written in the famous Disney font, Horta and fellow "Betty" executive producer Marco Pennette said it was important for all showrunners to get together and be seen publicly supporting the strike.
"For the sake of the show, we worked on the scripts up to the deadline," Pennette said. "And for the sake of the actors, they can shoot something. But we chose to not cross the line."
Among the showrunners: "SVU's" Neal Baer, "Entourage's" Doug Ellin, Carlton Cuse of "Lost," veteran producer John Wells ("ER," "I'm Not There"), "Desperate Housewives' " Marc Cherry and Shaun Cassidy, who said he has several pilots he's working on at Disney that are now in "development freeze."
"Today is very much about showing solidarity among showrunners," said Cherry.
As more shows begin to close up shop, Cherry said he expects to see more SAG members turn out at the picket lines. Next week, Cherry said, there will be special pickets featuring actors, and on Friday, the "entire guild membership" is supposed to show up at 20th Century Fox studios.
Following the march, the showrunners gathered at the Smoke House Restaurant in Burbank for a lunch that was paid for by talent agency Paradigm, which represents such top showrunners as Cherry and Baer, both members of the WGA negotiating committee.
Despite that goodwill gesture, eyewitness reported that discussions between negotiation moderates and more militantly inclined scribes escalated into a heated debate over the guild's bargaining strategy as well as the spectrum of producing duties showrunners could perform during a strike. No punches were thrown, though the verbal barbs were said to be sharp and unusually multisyllabic. According to sources, the debate later moved to the WGA headquarters in Los Angeles.