Monday, February 11, 2008

Writers strike almost over?

Over at NJ.com, I have a story about the probable end of the WGA strike within the next couple of days.

12 comments:

Donny said...

Alan,

Any word on how the strike will ultimately affect '24'? I know they had about 8 episodes completed at the time the strike began and wanted to hold off until they were sure they could air all 24 episodes without a break.

Your article mentions it taking 6-8 weeks or so before "new" episodes can be completed and aired. With 8 already in the bag...could '24' realistically begin airing new episodes shortly after the strike ends and still be able to have new episodes completed by the time the first 8 are done?

Please tell me the rumors about them holding off on Season 7 till next year aren't true!

Nicole said...

Glad to hear that this is almost over and that the deal is a good one for the writers. It's not perfect, but then no deal ever is and considering the North American trend of unionized membership shrinking and losing power, this is bucking the trend.

It would be nice if they extended the season to June because I think viewership will be down for most shows except the major hits and people may not bother to catch only a few more episodes.

Is there any word on how similar or identical this is to the DGA agreement? or do they even deal with the same issues (internet).

Mike said...

Thrilled if this means that Lost has a shot at finishing a season. Any word from Hawaii on whether that is a realistic possibility?


I hate to say it, because I think we all want this strike to end for the sake of better programming, but the 17-24 day grace period is a total joke, and the writers are getting royally jerked around if they are claiming this is 'promotional'. How many viewers take comfort in the fact that if they miss their favorite show on Wednesday night, they can catch it online Thursday instead? I would never see an episode of Friday Night Lights ... banished to TV Timeslot Hell... if NBC didnt have them online... I don't own a DVR and I havent programmed a VCR in 10 years. Clearly the first 17-24 days a show is online will be the most frequented, and will be the most profitable based on advertisers.

I'm shocked that this clause is included in the negotiations... I guess the writers budged first. I suppose it is easier to hold out when you've got all the money.

Figgsrock2 said...

Alan,

You mentioned Chuck in the article. Does this mean its got a good chance of coming back for Season 2?

Dark Tyler said...

mike, the 17-24 day initial window isn't that unreasonable, way I see it. Since content will air originally on TV, studios shouldn't have to pay twice for its first airing. The percentage after the initial window is residual payment, a la residuals for repeats aired on TV.

Essentially, the whole fuss is about online libraries of content, and the writers will in the future be receiving non-flat fee payment for all content that networks will have on their sites. Which will mean practically everything.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Any word on how the strike will ultimately affect '24'? I know they had about 8 episodes completed at the time the strike began and wanted to hold off until they were sure they could air all 24 episodes without a break.

I don't think they were even close to having 8 episodes done (they had a lot of problems coming up with a good story direction for the season), and the rumors I'm hearing is that they may just sit 2008 out altogether and come back with a traditionally-scheduled season in January '09.

Alan Sepinwall said...

You mentioned Chuck in the article. Does this mean its got a good chance of coming back for Season 2?

I feel pretty confident that it will come back, and in the fall. You're going to see very few new series because the strike intruded so much on development season (and because the networks force majeured a lot of their development deals).

Donny said...

Well, you broke my heart with the '24' update. Maybe you can brighten my day here: Any news on when 'Entourage' is coming back for season 5? Are the writers of Entourage part of the WGA?

Thanks!

Eric said...

If the networks are smart (BIG if) they'll use this as an opportunity to put a stake through the heart of traditional seasons and start programming year-round. Given that networks basically can't re-run anything but a few shows and outdraw a test-pattern these days, it probably makes more sense to make sure you have new scripted shows year-round, and plug in reality shows to serve as the filler that reruns used to. That may keep them limping along in place for a few years while the whole advertising-supported model collapses around them.

Mike said...

the 17-24 day initial window isn't that unreasonable, way I see it. Since content will air originally on TV, studios shouldn't have to pay twice for its first airing. The percentage after the initial window is residual payment, a la residuals for repeats aired on TV.

Dark Tyler... This makes sense, so long as the difference in ad revenue between what had formerly been the television audience and what now comprises the television AND internet audience is included in considering the writers' payment for the initial window.

The networks have to be receiving a significant kick-back from online viewing within the first few weeks, especially with shows like Lost, or 30 Rock, or The Office, where repeat viewings (for clues, for jokes, etc.) are almost necessary. I wont pretend to know the first thing about online streaming ad revenue, but it has to be considerable now that almost every show can be seen within 24 hours of its initial broadcast. If not, they wouldnt go quite so hard after YouTube and the likes for allowing copyrighted material to be shared.

LA said...

Scrubs fans need to start campaigning to NBC to make sure the series finale ends up on the air and not straight to DVD.

Dark Tyler said...

This makes sense, so long as the difference in ad revenue between what had formerly been the television audience and what now comprises the television AND internet audience is included in considering the writers' payment for the initial window.

That's a good point. I believe, though, that in the case of hit shows like the ones you mention, the writers will in fact be getting paid enough money. And I'm basing this on the fact that these are hit shows. Otherwise, I have no idea. But I agree with you in principle.