Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Yesterday morning, the writing stopped. About 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America are demanding money for their work when it goes to DVD and the internet. It’s this “new media” stuff that CEOs claim to be a confusing area when it comes to profit distribution. And until the writers come to an agreement with TV networks and film studios, the funny is gone. Tina Fey is leading chants in front of Rockefeller Center in NY while James L. Brooks walks up and down the sidewalk in front of Fox Studios in LA. Sure, some of these people make decent scratch, but there are thousands of writers who are cast aside while media conglomerates fatten their wallets. Personally, I would be more than a little upset if someone raked in crazy money off my work without giving me even a little share. Media companies have had all the power until now.
The last writers’ strike was in 1988 and lasted five months. Five months! Over that period it cost the entertainment industry half a billion dollars. Half a billion dollars! It’s a blow to those who claim anyone can write and to those whose jobs depend on writers’ ideas and creativity. As much as I hate reruns, this needs to be done. I saw an interview with a picketing John Oliver who said he was writing on Friday for Monday’s Daily Show, in hopes this could be settled over the weekend. We won’t be seeing any new episodes of the Daily Show, SNL, Conan O Brien, and other brilliant shows any time soon. This strike could last days, weeks, even months. And the longer it goes on, the worse television and film will get.
Many speculate that networks will resort to airing more reality shows. More?! These glamorized game shows offer little if any insight into life, lack creativity, and are an insult to all the talented writers out there. They cost no money to make because there’s no thought going into them. There’s a reason quality shows on HBO win awards year after year. Seriously, how many more hosts like Joey Fatone can America take?
When the writers’ requests are finally met, they’ll he happier and more productive, that’s the point of striking. The media companies have taken them for granted far too long. Even Barack Obama agrees. So as we sadly watch reruns of our favorite shows, know all this is being done for a reason. In the end, our laughter will benefit.