Ellen DeGeneres has fired back at the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA), after they criticized the talk show host for continuing to make her popular TV show, despite her writers taking part in the ongoing writers strike.
The US-based strike has so far caused late night talk shows to shut down production, and has so far resulted in the sacking of staff on the hit comedy ‘The Office’, with other series soon to stop production unless the WGA and the networks can reach an agreement.
DeGeneres, who supported her writers by taking one day off her top rating talk show, went back to work minus her writing team, leading to the WGA releasing a statement on Friday (November 9) criticizing her actions, saying they’re "extremely disappointed to see that Ellen has chosen not to stand with writers during the strike."
"On her first show back, Ellen said she loves and supports her writers, but her actions prove otherwise… We find it sad that Ellen spent an entire week crying and fighting for a dog that she gave away, yet she couldn’t even stand by writers for more than one day – writers who have helped make her extremely successful."
A statement released by the talk show host explains that her program, which is broadcast on 220 stations and is not network-produced, says that "it is unfair and incorrect to compare The Ellen DeGeneres Show to late night shows."
A representative for Ellen released a statement through her publicist, explaining, "We have asked Ellen to come back to work to fulfill her contractual obligation, as host of the show, because without original programs the stations can move the show out of its time periods or ultimately hold the company in breach of contract. The company, in turn, expects Ellen not to breach her contract to host the show. We also wish to preserve the 135 jobs of the staff and crew whose livelihoods depend on the show continuing. We regret the Writer’s Guild has chosen to strike, and we wish for a quick resolution."
The statement also says that Degeneres’ show is carried by more than 220 stations daily and that "it is unfair and incorrect to compare The Ellen DeGeneres Show to late night talk shows such as Leno, Letterman and Conan, all of which are late night, network-owned and controlled programming. Ellen is a daytime talk show carried on a syndicated basis across individual television stations, no different than, and in direct competition with, Oprah, Rachel Ray, Phil, Live with Regis and Kelly, Martha, Tyra, Jerry, Maury and Montel, all of which are in first run daytime syndication and are continuing in production."
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Photo courtesy of Time Magazine.