I've always Liked The Late Show with Dave Letterman and now I have yet another reason. Dave Letterman and his production company Worldwide Pants have become the first to cut a deal with the strikers. The other executives have the ability to hire scabs but no talk of that has yet surfaced.
I say 'bravo' to Worldwide Pants, which has produced other monster hit shows such as Everybody Loves Raymond, for meeting the writers' demand for a better deal. This bargain is unprecedented and has even been referred to as a "pact" between the WGA and a major production company. I think of the word pact as having a more human than business connotation, but maybe that's just my inside Letterman fan revealing himself. The specifics of the issues still on the table with the rest of the production companies are not entirely clear, but they mainly deal with DVD residuals and pay for online content. Minor requests if you asked me. There is something sacred about creative writing and, in my opinion, people who do it for a living ought to have a decent paycheck.
Worldwide Pants is setting the pace for a solution, but what if the corporations held out forever and squelched the writers? Would we still have shows? Of course. You can always find someone to do it for less. That's not the point though. Writers pay should reflect their dignity and worth. Let me give you an illustration: One of the specific items for pay on The Late Show is Dave's infamous "Top Ten List." Envision the writers at the table coming up with these after the new deal has been put in place... for me it will almost be a holy thing. Not only do I imagine the list will be funny, but I can feel good about laughing. After all, one reference from the mid nineties states, 70% of all TV writers average less than 50k a year, though current WGA figures are slightly higher than that. Regardless, there's no "absolute scale" chart available (AMPTP and the WGA use different figures) as there is, for example, with public school teachers like myself. Thus, it's hard to gauge with true accuracy what the writers indeed pull down.