Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Everything you wanted to know about the WGA strike but were afraid to ask

Thoughts on "House" and, if I see it, "Reaper," coming up later this morning. In the meantime, tonight at midnight is when the WGA contract expires, but there's a chance that a strike could be pushed back a week to 10 days, according to Variety. That story also has a good breakdown of the issues still being negotiated and where each one stands. Adalian and Schneider also have a very helpful primer on just what TV is going to look like in the event of a strike. Short version: fans of "Everybody Hates Chris" and trashy reality TV will be fine, fans of latenight TV are screwed, and fans of everything else are somewhere in between.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, the good news is that they won't be writing any more episodes of Heroes, right?

Andrew said...

Am I the only one that thinks it might be fun to see all the networks scrambling around like decapitated chickens for a couple of months? Sure I might think differently had The Wire not already wrapped, but I think this has good comedy potential. Imagine 24 launching a 12 episode season in January without any conclusion. See what I mean.

Number Five said...

My impression based on reading all the coverage is: 1) the strike threat is currently helping new shows that are on the bubble stay on the air because of the need for original material. But, 2) if the strike happens and looks like it will last a while, those bubble shows are all going to be canceled because the networks won't want to pay the costs to keep the sets up, actors employed, etc. Alan, is this correct? I understand shows like Journeyman or Cavemen/Carpoolers would definitely be gone, but what about shows like Chuck or Dirty Sexy Money?

While I'm worried about how the strike will affect the new shows I enjoy and annoyed about Lost or Battlestar Galactica being interrupted, in general I feel like a strike now would be much less damaging for television viewers than in 1988, the last time it happened. I've already read plenty of comments that people will just start by clearing out their Tivo/DVR backlogs. Fans of reality and game shows will have plenty more choices, and everyone will have a wide variety of older and recent shows on DVD to watch. I think Netflix would really benefit from a strike; for example, I'd probably up my subscription by a disc during a lengthy strike.

Anonymous said...

Netflix all the way--time to catch up on those shows I never saw but always meant to check out, like Buffy, Wonderfalls, Battlestar Galactica, and Deadwood. I usually do this in the summer and then cancel my membership until the next summer season. It will cost me a few extra bucks a month (I only have network TV...no cable or satellite bills), but no big deal.

lunatic96 said...

What I really want to know is how Everybody Hates Chris has already wrapped up a full season by the end of October.

LA said...

If they do go on strike, would they be able to air the shows already in the can or would the airing of all new materal have to desist immediately?

Dark Tyler said...

They can air everything they have in the can. Theoretically they could also continue to shoot everything that has a finished screenplay, but I'm not sure if they would do that without the presence of a writer on the set.

Alex R. said...

Greaaaaatttttt...we'll still have "Everybody Hates Chris". YAY.

In all seriousness, this really sucks big time for those of us (like myself, my wife, my friends) who for the most part, hate Reality Television.

That being said, there's a ton of movies and old "Criminal Intent" episodes in my DVR so if a strike happens, I can finally clear things out. Plus, like many others on hrer, I have millions of disks I mistakenly bought or copied in the past that now I can actually watch. So yeah, there's a plus.

Still, all in all I would have my shows like "Lost" and "24",

I suppose a show like "Heroes" could go on? From what I have seen this season, they haven't been using writers anyway.

Dark Tyler said...

And of course, on the day the strike is about to start, Joss Whedon announces he's back to TV.

(Which, by the way? By far the best first news of a month I've heard since forever.)

Eric said...

The way I read the article, it looks like there's a long enough lead time on Dollhouse (Joss' new show) for him to credibly claim not to have written it during the strike (wink wink.)

Letterman's strike episodes contained some pure genius., but I don't see him getting that much free reign or having the energy to basically write the show himself again.

KaveDweller said...

Everybody Hates Chris started shooting in, like, June because the y wante to film as much as they can before the kid grows too much. I think that was Every body hates Chris, anyway.

Undercover Black Man said...

The Variety reporting, by the way, was ridiculously spun in favor of the studios. (Is that any surprise? Variety survives on advertising revenue from the studios! Keep that little fact in mind whenever you read about labor issues in Variety or the Hollywood Reporter.)

In the linked Variety article, that crap he wrote about the WGA not seeming "rash" or worrying about its "public image"... pure psy-ops from the greedhead bosses.

Rash? RASH? The studios haven't even responded at the table to the Guild's proposals... and technically negotiations began in July. The studios want to put us to the test. And the studios do not want to share any of the money they make from digital downloads and streaming video (even though the studios have already monetized those Internet delivery systems).

But guess what? The Screen Actors Guild is with us. They realize that if we don't get our fair share of new-media revenue NOW (while at the same time losing residual income for shows that don't air primetime reruns), then we'll NEVER get it.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the strike will be mentioned in any future episodes of series taking place in Hollywood - especially Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage.

I guess Larry David could spend at least half a season as a pro-strike writer who ends up in situations where, due to some typical CYE circumstances he might seem as a strike breaker - inwolving Larry in a picket line and at least a dozen ways to make a fool out of himself.

And as in Entourage - Vince struggling to find a decent script whereas Billy is on strike and/or ranting what's wrong with Hollywood writers.