Friday, January 11, 2008

The Writers' Strike

As the writer's strike causes this year's American TV shows to grind to a close - all the good ones except The Medium are over or close to it - we can be sure that the channels will not go dark. Soon reality TV will rule the airwaves during prime time. Will this abominable prospect finally drive the viewing public to force management to make the writers something close to a reasonable offer? Or will the current madness continue? Such as: While NBC alone made over a billion dollars last year on its internet business, management maintains that writers should either get no residuals from video streaming, or get a flat fee of $250. After that insult of an anti-offer, management apparently now refuses to negotiate at all.

It must be clear to everyone other than the Hollywood bosses that the writers deserve a fairer deal. Their main issues are residuals for the various forms of replay of their shows (especially internet) and the definition of what sorts of shows fall under the deal. The length of the strike is unnecessary, and is hurting a lot of people who can ill afford it, such as the production staff, carpenters, caterers, and others who work to support film activities. I have frequently read the unexplained claim that management wants the TV season to end prematurely - but I have no idea why. It seems that this year actually has a few quality shows, for a change.

We in Canada are somewhat luckier in our viewing choices, although I'm a bit worried by the CBC winter schedule making no mention of Intelligence or the sequel to The Tudors. You'd think that CBC wouldn't dream of failing to follow up on its best shows, but if you're a CBC radio follower, you know that CBC has a grand old tradition of deliberately destroying its best and brightest.


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