Writers Strike; No One Cares

We’re three weeks into the Hollywood writer’s strike and I’ve still not heard a single soul talk about it in the real world.  Sure, there’s plenty ado on the internet, but the internet’s all about writing, isn’t it?  Perhaps it’s because we’re not yet missing out on our favorite shows, like Bionic Woman (so sue me), CSI, Las Vegas, or Two and a Half Men.  (Las Vegas has picked up considerably with the departure of James Caan and the introduction of Tom Selleck.  Who knew?)  The new fall episodes have been in the can for a while now, and Joe Public isn’t going to care until he actually starts having to watch reruns.  Actually, I think it’s mostly Jane Public who’ll notice, since it’s football season, and who needs writers for that? 

But if the strike of Hollywood comedy and drama writers wasn’t enough, now we have news of the CBS News writers authorizing their union to strike.  As if Katie Couric wasn’t getting low enough ratings.  Hey, it might help her.  Some real-time guffaws about national catastrophes always garner attention, and she could use the publicity.  Heh. 

The upside to the strike, for me at least, is that maybe now we’ll get to see those new episodes of Jericho that we rabid fans have been waiting for.  7 new episodes.  The first season is now out on DVD, and this would be the perfect time to launch the new season.  CBS is going to need the filler; the last time the writers struck began the onslaught of Reality TV–and everyone’s getting pretty sick of that.  Of course, the fans in the Jericho forum are supporting the writers–they are an integral part of every show–but it would still please me greatly to see Jericho fill the lagging spots, instead of crappy reruns.  (Kid Nation?  Who watches that crap?)

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4 thoughts on “Writers Strike; No One Cares

  1. You know, this whole screenwriter’s strike (and, as a writer, I think it’s important to note the difference) is perplexing on several levels. The simple fact is that the business model for the entire entertainment delivery system is at a moment of flux and no one seems particularly interested in taking advantage of it.

    Partly, it’s because people have their own worries to deal with. While I appreciate the plucky Tina Fey walking a picket line with her sense of gentle irony, when your family is in serious danger of loosing their house, not being able to afford to drive to a job or loosing a job, then a bunch of, lets face it, fluff screenwriters whining about how they’re not getting paid “enough” comes off pretty badly. Remember the baseball strike from many years ago? The one major league baseball has never quite recovered from, the one I’ve certainly never forgiven them for after I saw an interview with some aggrieved-acting player where they stated, “People don’t understand how hard it is to live on four million a year.” Yeah, I think you have the same situation brewing here. It’s not that people don’t care, it just that we have other things to worry about.

    Plus, it sort of feels like when the bad employee goes to the boss and asks for a raise. Everyone in the office sort of watches it happen and no one can quite believe it’s actually happening, but there he is marching into the office, shutting the door and “negotiating” when his biggest professional accomplishment is he’s played through half of the possible Free Cell games. The shows out there just aren’t as compelling as they used to be. Partly, this is the fault of the studio execs who yank shows before they find audiences or demand clones of shows that have any sort of success. Partly it’s the screenwriters themselves who seem perfectly comfortable in turning out utter crap, the same utter crap. It’s why people went to cable channels. Sure, not every network show is bad, but so many are, so many are forgettable, that the sense is, “I’m not going to get a whole season of Heroes? Meh, this was a crappy season, anyway, I don’t care how much shirtless Milo Ventimiglia they throw in there. Besides, I hear he beat that nice girl from Gilmore Girls when he was dating her.”

    The biggest issue, though, is just that the whole entertainment business model is changing. The Internet truly is forcing businesses to reconsider how they’re handling their affairs. The group of people who are most likely to be sympathetic to and agitating for the writers, younger viewers, can just turn to the net and download their favorite episodes of older shows. Just look at the music industry. RIAA’s lawsuits are hitting huge snags, music sales are down, quality of music produced is certainly down and finally, FINALLY some in the music industry are starting to realize that, instead of blaming the Internet, it makes better fiscal sense to embrace it and figure out how to use it to maximize profits again. Screenwriters, however, are still firmly stuck in the old paradigm of “we want money for DVDs and Internet broadcasts under the same model as for television broadcasts” and that’s just not going to work for any great length of time.

  2. LOL.

    John, you forgot to include the Internet, but great point.

    What strike?

    This is the equivalent to most people to a strike by the United Ant Workers of Phobos… Who cares?

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