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Message Steve mcqueen

Tonight's the night.  If there's anyone on TV who might be able to do their show without actually defying the WGA strike, it would be you two.  But short of having the shows go on without you two appearing, I'm not sure how you'll fill the hour without ridiculing your writers and the purpose of the strike.

I love your work to death.  One more than the other though I'll never say which.  But as you prepare to go on the air I would hope you take into consideration what crossing the writers' (your writers included) line means.

Despite what Jay and the NBC attorneys say, WGA writers writing for themselves on their own shows is against the WGA rules. So says the WGA.

Writing for others is obviously verboten.  Any programming idea falls under WGA guidelines. 
That includes actors, stagehands, office staff, et al who end up on screen performing your ideas. 

Others, WGA or otherwise, writing for a WGA signatory (ex. The Daily Show and the Colbert Report) is also off limits.

Crossovers during the strike, such as what Jay is going to do with Jimmy or you to are known to do prior to The Colbert Report, are about one WGA member crossing the strike line to appear on another struck show.  That is scabbing as sure as The Daily Show and Colbert Report - with their writers - are the best shows on TV (The Office isn't planning on returning until strike is over).

Remember back when affording today's health insurance was a luxury, but the WGA secured it for you.

There was a time before guaranteed minimum salaries and residual payments for a writers' work.
There was a time before writers received fair pay, before they even received credit for their work.

The WGA formed and fought for those benefits.  Benefits both of you have profited from.

While there are others who are not writers or striking who lose during the strike, that is what a strike is about: revealing the effect - the entire effect of not having the writer on board.  The people who are not writers but have their livelihood affected by the writers being on strike have been direct beneficiaries of the same writers' work. 

Without the writer there is no show.  Certainly not a good one. And that would include your shows.  Afterall, you are writers.  More so, you are WGA writers.  And it was the WGA that gave you and all those who came before you the protections to receive fair treatment. 

Going against the best interests of your brother writers would be like a poor person, sans health insurance with a son in the military, voting for George Bush in 2004.  Worse, it would be like working for George Bush.  Is that what you want...another George Bush?

So I urge you, before you pull that lever, think about what the election of George Bush begot this country. 

Don't do the same to the writers.  Otherwise you're just undermining the troops.

Break a leg.

WGA Member and award-winning TV writer, Steve Young, is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" ( doesn't expect to be hired on The Tonight Show,  Daily Show or Colbert Report staffs...even after the strike.

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