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WGA and SAG Denounce Product Placements

Appearing to take a more aggressive stance in dealing with TV producers and networks, the Writers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild are expected to propose at a news conference today (Monday) that a set of guidelines be drawn up governing the integration of product-placement ads in scripts. Today's Los Angeles Times quotes Writers Guild West President Patric Verrone as saying, "In their race to the bottom line to create the so-called new business model, network and advertising executives are ignoring the public's interest and demanding that creative artists participate in stealth advertising disguised as a story." A position paper expected to be released at the news conference accuses producers and the networks of requiring writers and actors to produce pitches for products in programs, generally without additional compensation. The position paper states: "It used to be that a writer would be asked to weave a love interest into a story. Now, that writer is being asked to weave in potato chips, or soft drinks or building-supply stores." SAG President Alan Rosenberg added, "It is time for producers to work with artists on this issue, and the best way to do that is to establish a cooperative code of conduct that will protect the artist, the viewing public and advertiser-supported free television." But producer Jonathan Prince, creator of the canceled American Dreams, told the Times, "My job is to sell soap and soda and cars... Who will pay our high-paid writers and actors if not for some of these brands?"
2005-12-20 17:33:26