EXCLUSIVE: Fran Drescher is less concerned with a meeting of several showrunners with Writers Guild leadership this week and more concerned with studios and streamers getting back to the bargaining table to make a fair deal.
“The showrunners meeting with the WGA? I don’t know really how that makes me hopeful for the studio CEOs coming to the table,” the recently reelected SAG-AFTRA president told Deadline on Wednesday as she was leaving an L.A. solidarity march and rally outside Paramount Studios.
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After an on-off-on-off back and forth over the past few weeks, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris, Fargo’s Noah Hawley and others are set to sit down with the guild negotiating committee Friday at WGA headquarters on Fairfax and 3rd. Always intended as an “information session,” drama around scheduling the meeting has been perceived by some as an attempt by the AMPTP to carve out discord among the scribes and their guild.
A move that the always outspoken Drescher didn’t hesitate to rip into.
“I don’t feel like showrunners are in opposition to performers,” Drescher said today in response to a question about the high-profile sit-down. “That’s not who we’re striking against. It’s the greedy CEOs at the very top who really want to not make us their partners, but keep us their peons.”
Since Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Disney’s Bob Iger, Universal’s Donna Langley and Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav called a sudden meeting with WGA leaders August 22 and unsuccessfully insisted the guild accept the AMPTP’s August 11 proposal to end the strikes, divisions within the studio boss’ star chamber have emerged (as Deadline reported on August 30 and the WGA proclaimed to the AMPTP’s chagrin on September 8). As tales of that discord swirl, the AMPTP hired former Elizabeth Holmes crisis PR firm the Levinson Group in late August.
Drescher made a point of mocking that hire onstage today in front of unemployed and locked-out writers and actors.
“You don’t need to, AMPTP, hire expensive publicists to make you look good from DC, which is what they did spending all kinds of money to make them look better,” the former Nanny star told union members gathered outside Paramount. “They can’t compete with our authenticity and our sincerity, where we’re coming from. So, they hire a big company to make them look good. You don’t have to do that AMPTP, just do the right thing.”
With the likes of Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jean Smart and WGA member Phil Rosenthal plus guild leaders like Duncan Crabtree-Ireland helping lead the packed procession, today’s march went from Netflix HQ on Sunset to Paramount on Melrose. The event culminated in speeches from Drescher, SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer Joely Fisher and others.
“I know this strike is not easy. It’s hard, very hard,” Drescher told the crowd on Day 135 of the WGA strike and Day 62 of the SAG-AFTRA strike.
(WATCH) SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher speaks to demonstrators at the SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local solidarity march and rally today pic.twitter.com/lBuUFfTRpl
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) September 13, 2023
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