Skip to main content

WGA Wins Writers' Rights Battle with Tyler Perry!

Hey, folks--

This happened on Wednesday (which in cyberspace time, is EONS ago!), but I'm just now catching up on my industry news from right before Thanksgiving.

Anyway, as you may remember, last month I posted several posts about the Writers Guild taking on Tyler Perry Studios, which was producing TBS's hit show House of Payne without using WGA writers... and it then fired four writers who tried to unionize! The Guild fought a strong fight, including sending an army of screenwriters to the protest Payne's grand opening in Atlanta.

Well... good news!... as of Wednesday, thanks to some help from the NAACP, Tyler Perry has agreed to cooperate with the Guild and make his TV shows union! This will ensure that writers staffed on Perry's shows will receive health and medical benefits, pensions, and reasonable working hours and conditions-- a huge, and long overdue, victory for writers!

On the downside: the four fired writers-- Kellie Griffin, Christopher Moore, Teri Brown-Jackson, Lamont Ferrell-- were not hired back.

Just wanted to give you that update after posting the seeds of the story last month... and here' the official press release if you're interested:

Atlanta, GA (November 26, 2008) -- Tyler Perry Studios and the Writers
Guild of America, West
today announced that they have come to an
agreement following more than five months of negotiations. Vic Bulluck,
executive director of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau, was instrumental in
bringing the two parties together.

“We are pleased to have come to a resolution with the WGA, and thank
the NAACP for their support during negotiations. We look forward to
many years working with the talented writers who are members of the
Guild.” stated Tyler Perry. “With a continued focus on fostering young,
diverse talent, we are eager to continue our dialogue with the WGA to
dramatically increase the number of minority writers working in
Hollywood today.”

“At a time when true independent producers like Mr. Perry are rare in
this business, we congratulate him on his success and welcome his
decision to become signatory to a WGA contract,” said Writers Guild of
America, West President Patric M. Verrone. “I also would like to thank
Ben Jealous, NAACP national president and CEO, Vic Bulluck, executive
director NAACP Hollywood Bureau, and Clayola Brown, national president
of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, for their help during this

“The NAACP is a staunch advocate for workers rights and for nearly one
hundred years has fought for greater minority representation and
inclusion in Hollywood. We applaud Tyler Perry’s efforts to not only
promote, but to also provide work for people of color in the
entertainment industry,” stated Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of
the NAACP. Adding, “We recognize the unique and important influence
writers have in our society. The NAACP will continue to work with the
WGA to make sure their rights are protected and that all the networks
and studios provide greater opportunity for minority writers.”

The contract with the WGA was the last union agreement outstanding for
Tyler Perry Studios, which had previously brokered deals with the
Teamsters, IATSE, SAG, DGA, and others. Acknowledging that some of the
writers on the TBS series House of PayneMeet the Browns will not be returning, Perry thanked them for their services and wished them well in their future endeavors. 

Matt Johnson of Ziffrren, Brittenham negotiated the deal for Tyler Perry Studios.

Tyler Perry Studios is 100% financed by Tyler Perry in an
entrepreneurial endeavor, and is not backed by a studio or other
investors. The studio produces both Meet the Browns and House of Payne, as well as several feature films a year including the upcoming Madea Goes to Jail
Perry recently announced the formation of another production arm, 34th
Street Films
, which will develop projects written and directed by
talent other than Perry under the Tyler Perry brand.

Your Story Writing Prompts

94 Your Story Writing Prompts

Due to popular demand, we've assembled all the Your Story writing prompts on in one post. Click the link to find each prompt, the winners, and more.

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

Historical fiction relies on research to help a story’s authenticity—but it can also lead to developments in the story itself. Here, author Lora Davies discusses how inspiration and research helped shape her new novel, The Widow’s Last Secret.

Poetic Forms

Saraband: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the saraband, a septet (or seven-line) form based on a forbidden dance.

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

International bestselling author Karen Hamilton discusses the “then and now” format of her new domestic thriller, The Ex-Husband.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character give or face an ultimatum.

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

Sylvia Beach was friend to many writers who wrote what we consider classics today. Here, author Kerri Maher shares six things everyone should know about her and Shakespeare and Company.

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

Author Katherine Quevedo takes an analytical look at the creative process in hopes to help other writers find writing success.

Nick Petrie: On Following the Most Compelling Story

Nick Petrie: On Following the Most Compelling Story

Award-winning author Nick Petrie discusses how he listened to the story that wanted to be told in his new Peter Ash thriller novel, The Runaway.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 596

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a punishment poem.