Stars show support for writers

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If television and film studios were hoping that big-name personalities were staying out of the much-talked-about Writers Guild of America strike, they were very wrong. On day one of the strike, some familiar names are out marching the picket lines and standing up for their own beliefs.

In New York City, 30 Rock's Tina Fey told The Hollywood Reporter that she will continue to work on her show as an actress and producer, but won't be serving her duty as one of the show's writers.

"NBC is breaking away from iTunes," she said, referring to one of the strike's points of contention: that writers should be included in profits from online distribution. Studios claim that it's too early to tell how the money earned from shows streamed online and individually sold episodes should be divvied up, if at all, but Fey thinks otherwise. "They know what they're doing with new media."

Other stars reported to have walked the picket line are Saturday Night Live's Amy Poehler in New York City, Simpsons producer James L. Brooks outside the Fox lot in Los Angeles, William Baldwin outside of Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, and Jay Leno, who brought donuts to picketers in Burbank.

Leno, whose Tonight Show with Jay Leno is going dark with its writers on strike, told The Los Angeles Times, "Without [the writers] I'm not funny. I'm a dead man without them. There are a lot of misconceptions about how much these people make. Most of them are not highly paid. Some are, but the average make about 30 grand a year. I'm out here to support the writers. I'm on the writers' side."

As for the writers themselves, they're prepared to make the strike last as long as it takes. "I have a feeling it will be one long one," Notes From the Underbelly writer Russ Woody told the Times. "We learned a lesson from [the 1988 strike]. We let some things go that we shouldn't have."

While Jay Leno is keeping writers going with donuts, another late-night talk-show host is reportedly giving his writers good old-fashioned dough. Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, is rumored to be paying the salaries of all his production company's employees (not just writers) while The Daily Show and The Colbert Report both halt production. Stewart has allegedly agreed to pay his staff, through his own Busboy Productions, for two weeks while both shows are off the air due to the strike.

For more on the writers strike, check out TV.com's Strike Source, featuring up-to-date statuses on shows, the latest information, and more.

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