Monday, November 05, 2007

Pencils down, pickets up

The Writers Guild of America went on strike today, which to the casual consumer will mean mild TV watching disruption now and, depending on how long it drags on, repeat/reality hell later. But what it means for the writers is so much more. Now, I believe in unions. In fact, I belong to a guild so I support the striking workers unequivocally. And you know I’m always going to have another writer’s back. Solidarity now, scribes! While the negotiation details are complicated they essentially boil down to giving the writers a bigger, fairer slice of the profits pie.

So, what does this mean to the average couch potato? Starting today, all the late night talkers (Dave, Conan, Jay and the rest) and-- sniff, sniff, sob -- Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will have their shows go dark. Expect repeats and the sound of millions of Americans flipping through the dials in frustration come 11 p.m. As for the primetime lineup, most of the scripted dramas and comedies have about two months worth of shows already in the can. So we shouldn’t see too much of a difference, unless things get ugly. And then -- oh, the horror -- networks may start filling the airwaves with even more unscripted reality programs. Kind of makes Tina Fey’s joking on “30 Rock” earlier this season about “MILF Island,” “America’s Next Top Pirate” and “Are you Stronger Than a Dog?” less funny and more foreboding. Bottom line, writing matters. Imagine turning on your TV and seeing nothing but “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” on every dial. Shudder. Pay up, Hollywood. Pay up now.

p.s. I was happy to see almost all of the showrunners from my favorites included in this ad supporting the striking writers. As if I needed another reason to love Tina Fey, she is also no scab.

7 comments:

Alex said...

I live in L.A. and the local/national news coverage for the strike sounded so unnecessarily complicated. The details can be, but the main issue boils down to this: the writers currently get 5 cents for every DVD sold, they want an extra 4 cents, and they currently get nothing for internet and they want 2.5 cents. That's it. Not unreasonable at all imo. Anyhow, I saw Tina Fey on CNN picketing Rockefeller center earlier this morning. She really is great...

Anonymous said...

Here here, much support to the writers all the way. Sounds totally reasonable, and once again a reason to be a union supporter. How sad is it, anyway, that 'comedians' cannot write their own material?

Jules said...

Writers are the backbone of the business, they def don't get the recognition they deserve. Most people won't even care about the strike until two months down the road when they see their fave shows on hiatus.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

Without the words, there is nothing. I hope this strike gets resolved quickly, but the unimaginative cheapskates who control the purse strings kind of have me nervous.

Dame Rhetorica said...

Remember, remember, the 5th of November. Kinda fitting for Guy Fawkes Day, no?

ravaj said...

although hopefully no gunpowder dame r, eh?

Anonymous said...

Every TV show or movie that has been critically acclaimed for the acting have always had great writing. Example in point: The Sopranos. The acting was outstanding but the writing made it so.