Saturday, November 3

Striking Writers: Writer's Guild Of America


Although a federal mediator has called a last minute Sunday morning meeting between major media and the Writer's Guild Of America (WGA), it seems certain that 12,000 writers will go on strike Monday.

From the network perspective, budgets are going up while ratings are going down. From the writers perspective, they want higher residuals, especially from DVDs (they are asking for eight cents per copy as opposed to three or five cents). And they are serious.

As Jericho fans know, the strike could return Jericho to the small screen much earlier than as a truncated midseason show in January. But as the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for.

Coming back as a Band Aid for CBS would mean limited promotion time prior to a start date (not that CBS seems like it would go gangbusters on it anyway). This also assumes Jericho fans and new viewers will be satisfied with some lower budget solutions that made it impossible to pick up where the season one cliffhanger left off. And, with only seven shows in the can, even if season two was a hit, fans would once again find themselves looking at yet another long wait between seasons.

From the fans' perspective, it doesn’t make sense. For Veronica Mars fans, on the other hand, a writers strike could help return it to syndication, giving new viewers a chance to see the series for the first time. You never know what might happen if that happened. Why? Because in new world of media, crazier things have, are, and will happen. Don’t believe me?

• ABC recently asked Rob Thomas to bring back Cupid, a 15-episode series that debuted in 1998.

• The Teamsters’ 4,500 truck drivers, casting directors, and location managers may join the WGA strike. ABC, on the other hand, suggested writers consider dropping or converting their WGA membership to work anyway. Yep, crazy.

Digg!

14 comments:

Jericho Saved on 11/3/07, 2:55 PM said...

Thanks Rich. As someone mentioned today this strike can harm a lot of people who don't make millions in salary. Like the caterers. I'm sadder about that than anything.

Rich on 11/3/07, 3:14 PM said...

And how Jane.

Strikes hurt everyone. For many, it is the worst case scenario of any communication breakdown. It means neither side is willing to discuss anything anymore.

Best,
Rich

Geoff_Livingston on 11/3/07, 4:01 PM said...

I see it a little differently. This is a good thing. Writing and intellectual property in general are increasingly unrewarded. I fully support the writers.

Rich on 11/3/07, 4:08 PM said...

Hey Geoff,

You misunderstood me. I mean that they should not have to strike to get it.

Best,
Rich

Geoff_Livingston on 11/3/07, 4:25 PM said...

Gotcha. Well then... Good point!!! But they are fighting an uphill battle. Wishing them well.

Anonymous said...

It's a very sad comment on our culture that writers that make scripted television possible, as well as latenight jokes and kiddy shows, have to turn to a strike to be paid in relation to their value. We have a serious lack of respect for the written word and the skill in using it in this culture, which is not a good portend for the future.

If the teamsters do indeed join the strike, it will force more out of work, but perhaps create more of a reason for both sides to talk

nightbird

erika on 11/3/07, 10:00 PM said...

I am a fan of unions, and I think the writer's should definitely strike if the greedy networks won't compensate them for their work. What will this do for our favorite shows? It could be a sad end for some of them, but creative types get the short stick regularly.

On the other hand, I was one of the few who loved 'Cupid' back in 1998, and if I get more episodes, I would be thrilled!

Rich on 11/4/07, 8:09 AM said...

Hey Erika,

You may get Cupid anyway; the decision will not be tied to the strike. What I found interesting is that even a year ago, you wouldn't see a show like Cupid being reconsidered given the short run. The game has changed; much like networks are realizing placing their best shows against another doesn't work like it used too.

In terms of the strike, I think the quality of unions depends on the union. The WGA seems solid. Many others, unfortunately, are not so solid and have different agendas other than serving members.

From what the writers are asking for, it seems painfully clear that they not being unreasonable on most, if not all, points.

All my best,
Rich

Kim on 11/5/07, 3:01 PM said...

I wasn't sure at first what the writers were fighting for, but I see their perspective now. If it wasn't for the writers, the networks would have only reality shows (eek) and the actors would be out of work.

It's the writers who come up with the storylines, characters and dialogue. Jennifer Aniston went from doing movies like Leprechaun to TV superstardom, thanks to the writers who created Rachel. She isn't Rachel, yet she has a career based on the public's perception that she must be like Rachel. She should be thanking the writers from Friends every day.

Without great writers, where would some of these actors be? Give the writers their due and pay them appropriately.

Rich on 11/5/07, 5:46 PM said...

Famous Last Words:

STRIKE!

Screenwriters moved to the picket lines this morning, as last-minute negotiations between the writers’ unions and producers failed to avert a strike over payments from producers for so-called new media, among other issues. — New York Times

grizzwhitchick on 11/6/07, 4:15 PM said...

glad you wrote about this.

i sure hope they don't have to strike for 5 months to get what they deserve like the last strike.

do you know what people can do to help?

Rich on 11/6/07, 6:21 PM said...

Hey Grizzwhitchick,

That's a great question. I'll contact the WGA tomorrow and ask them. I don't think they though it through.

There is a list of strike locations:
http://www.wga.org/subpage_member.aspx?id=2536

Rich on 11/7/07, 5:59 PM said...

Public Support:

I'll mention it again, but currently the WGA is requesting that the general public send e-mails of support to their attention. You can find those who have come out in support of the Writers Guild and a direct e-mail link here:

http://www.wga.org/subpage_member.aspx?id=2544

Special thanks to the WGA for following up so quickly.

Pure_VM_Fan on 12/19/07, 6:31 PM said...

So, we have hope for syndication.

That's good. Thanks Rich!

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