Television and the writer’s strike


So movie and television writers in Hollywood went on strike early this morning, at 12:01 a.m. on the east coast for the WGA East and at 12:01 a.m. on the west coast for the WGA West.

Late-night shows like Conan, Leno, Letterman, et al. will feel the impact immediately.? Soap operas will also no doubt feel the effects of the strike, though one wonders if anyone will notice with the plotlines mostly being the same for the past 50 years or so.? My mom’s probably freaking out over the fate of Luke, Laura, Sonny and Carly on General Hospital.

Network shows generally have about five or six episodes to burn, so if the strike doesn’t get resolved immediately, then you can expect those shows to go dark around the end of November/beginning of December.? Mid season shows like 24 and Lost face the possibility of being pushed back to February sweeps.

Seems like most movie studios were anticipating this and lined up many film projects before the strike, according to this story.

Variety has an interesting look at the impact on The Office.? Many of the shows stars are also writers, like B.J. Novack and Mindy Kaling. ? NBC Studio execs expect the actors to show up on set and act, even if they are striking as writers.? Should be an interesting fallout.

Obviously the LA Times has some extensive coverage, so you can check back with them for updates.

At the heart of this is the issue of compensation for reality television writers and online redistribution residuals.? The writers believe they deserve their fair share of compensation for what they’ve helped create, while I’m guessing studio execs want to keep their slice of the pie.? What’s lost on the studio execs is that in about 10 years or less, they are going to be completely obsolete in terms of television.? Studios are but the middleman when it comes to television content.

You’ve got content producers, advertisers supporting that content and then a distribution model which relies on television networks.? Well, it’s safe to reason that both the internet and technology like Tivo and OnDemand makes the television networks essentially useless.? Should be fascinating to follow these developments in the next few years.

The point being is that if I want to watch Lost why do I need ABC?? Once content producers figure out that problem, it’ll only be a blessing for them and consumers who want to watch television whenever and wherever they have the time to do so.

Anyways… with that out of the way.? Weeds, that wonderful sitcom on Showtime has been renewed for a fourth season.? We always love more Mary Louise-Parker.

Dennis Leary’s fantastic firefighter show Rescue Me has been given another season and this time it will be super-sized.? Instead of the usually 13 episodes viewers will get 22.

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