Writers Strike Picket Lines at Upfronts

“I don’t know but I’ve been told, NBC has a heart that’s cold,” Writers Guild of America pickets shouted outside Radio City Music Hall Monday, making some noise about the writers strike in front of NBCUniversal’s upfront presentation to advertisers.

Approximately 200 pickets, some members of SAG-AFTRA joining the WGA in solidarity, used other chants personalized for the occasion, including, “NBC, you’re no good, pay your writers like you should,” to try to get the attention of those in attendance at the event, which is used to launch NBC’s fall schedule and woo advertisers into spending their dollars on spots with NBCU brands.

“We are grateful for the contribution writers make to our company and respect their right to demonstrate,” NBCUniversal Television and Streaming chairman Mark Lazarus said to the audience at the start of the upfront, just after the crowd was treated to a recorded performance by the titular foulmouthed teddy bear from “Ted,” voiced by Seth MacFarlane, in honor of the upcoming Peacock series based on the film. “It may take some time, but I know we will eventually get through this, and the result will be a stronger foundation on which we can all move forward together.”

According to WGA, Congressmember Maxwell Frost was scheduled to be in attendance at NBCU morning picket line, which will go from 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Plans are for the WGA picketing to start again Monday afternoon, this time outside Fox’s upfront at the Manhattan Center from 3-7 p.m., and go throughout more upfront locations during the week, including Disney’s presentation at the North Javits Center Tuesday, the Warner Bros. Discovery upfront Wednesday morning at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, and YouTube’s upfront Wednesday evening at Lincoln Center.

WGA’s plans to pitch Netflix’s first-ever upfront presentation led to the streamer scrapping the in-person event, which was set to take place at the Paris Theater near the Plaza Hotel Wednesday afternoon. Instead, Netflix will hold its upfront virtually.

More to come…

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