My letter to Jeff Zucker

[This letter was mailed on November 30]

Dear Mr. Zucker,

I have five words for you: “Image is everything. Andre Agassi.”

It was those five words, spoken by Michael Scott in The Office’s Season 2 episode, “The Fire,” which motivated me to write its author, B.J. Novak, back in late 2005.

To my surprise, B.J. wrote me back: “You are the first to quote the Andre Agassi line! I came up with it on the spot and told it to Steve and was SO proud of it. I thought no one noticed, or remembered the Canon ads. Glad you did!”

Shortly thereafter, I decided to create a fansite for the show. In February 2006, was born. It’s been an amazing adventure ever since.

Now running a fansite isn’t always fun. Especially on Thursday nights, when I laboriously transcribe my favorite quotes from that evening’s episode. But even after nearly two years of running OfficeTally, I still react with childlike glee when I load up the quote randomizer with my favorite gems at the end of the evening.

You see, great writing is joyous. Great writing inspires people to create fansites. And great writing deserves fair pay.

Until the contract negotiation is resolved, I will not watch any replacement programming you put in The Office’s place. I will not view or download online episodes.

And OfficeTally’s quote randomizer will go dark.

Because without fair pay, there are no words.


Jennie Tan

Okay Tallyheads, go write your own letter.


  1. Amen, Tanster. I hope Zucker takes your words to heart, because there are lots and lots more fans who feel exactly the same. Thanks for putting our thoughts into words.

  2. Tanster…this is why I love you. Everything you do is with such class. You always know the perfect things to say…..

  3. Written very eloquently. Hopefully more letters/emails like yours are being sent and taken into consideration! Warmest aloha, Katie

  4. so well said, jennie. really well said.

    for me, this strike is all about exploitation – which isn’t always a bad thing. the exploitation of new media outlets is creative, great for providing viewers with options, and fun. but the exploitation of these writers is wrong.

  5. Jennie! Wonderful letter! I loved your reference to BJ’s quote. It is a great connecting force to your words and really glues the message together!

    Be sure to let us Tallyheads know if he replies!

  6. I am not watching any replacement programming, and I will let Jeff Zucker know that. Jennie, your letter is very eloquent.

  7. What a great letter. It was concise and short. Yet it makes a huge impact. I hope he personally reads the letter and thinks twice about what is going on. I agree 100% and until the strike I had no idea the writers were not receiving their fair compensation. Though, I miss the show, I haven’t watched online episodes and will refuse to watch replacement programming… and not just because of what it is (yuck).

  8. Jennie – Such a fabulous letter! Thank you for sharing it with us – let’s hope NBC pays attention.

  9. You’re a class act Jennie. Thanks for posting an example that we all can vainly try to aspire to ourselves.

  10. Amazing job, Jennie. Everyone has a fair say, but I think in many instances, you have a more powerful one than we do. I hope he reads your letter and realizes how he’s hurting not only the studios and the writers and actors etc. etc. but the fans as well.

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