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October 24, 2014

It's official: writers strike is set for Monday - UPDATE

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 2nd 2007 5:15PM
WGAEarlier today, Anna reported that the leaders of Writers Guild of America were to decide when to begin their strike against the studios and networks. Well, that decision has been made, and, as many speculated, the writers will definitely walk out on Monday.

As you might expect, the impact of the strike will be seen immediately on the late night talk shows. Jon Stewart mentioned on last night's The Daily Show that he didn't think there was going to be a new episode on Monday because of the strike and he was right; since there is no backlog on those late-night shows, they'll all be in reruns starting on Monday. Hopefully the strike won't drag on to the point where we run out of new episodes of scripted shows, but this matter of revenues from alternative delivery methods (DVDs, online, iTunes, etc.) is a sticky one that's not going to be settled easily. How long do you think the strike is going to last? Let me know in the comments.

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B2

Screw the writers, hire some new one's! TV is bad enough as it is, and now we don't even get to see the FEW shows that we struggle to watch? We pay Cable Bills, maybe we should strike on paying our Cable Bills until Television puts on some SHOWS or SOMETHING to watch. The writers are screwing the actors and shows, not themselves, they'll just go on to write for a new show. This sucks.

November 09 2007 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allen

Melissa, that argument is short sighted. Yes, people will get hurt. People who are not involved directly with the strike. Stories about craft services and lighting techs sure makes the strikers look uncaring and callous.
It's designed to.
When the actors went on strike in 1988 and lost i.e. didn't get a substantial bump in cable residuals, it set a precedent that we were unable to undo 20 years later.
As a result, a viable source of income has been cut by 2/3s. I understand the argument that "well, you don't HAVE to be an actor". But it's kind of stupid.
The producers and advertisers are making the same amount of cash. More even. But, they didn't take their hirings along as participants. And without actors or writers the work wouldn't exist.
To Karen:
I suppose it's okay to steal music, too, right? Since no one FORCED musicians to make music, eh? After the initial production and release, why should they get any money if someone wants to use their song in a commercial or a movie or a tv show? Why should they get paid ANYTHING after they write the song and put it out the first time?

November 05 2007 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Melissa

I absolutely agree with Karen. I amazes me that a group of people who get paid upwards of $200,000 per year are willing to put hundreds of thousands of people in southern california and new york out of jobs. In most industries, whatever a person creates becomes the property of the organization they work for and they never get a penny of royalities. Personally, I hope that the studios hold out long enough to completly crush the WGA!!!!!

November 04 2007 at 8:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
miCHAEL JANN

the studios are airing tv shows on the internet -- entire shows -- with advertising -- and generating millions of dollars in profits, and not paying the writers one penny. when asked about this the studios say, "that's just promotion". they say "we're just promoting the show" so people will watch it on tv. But they're advertising during this and raking in millions. their position is obviously preposterous. the writers just want their fair share, which is pennies, anyway.

November 04 2007 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
heinlein

First, Scott and Brent and others: If networks are profit-maximizers, and a strike would make them realize that reality shows are good money-makers, then the $1 millon-question is why doesn't they already know this???? Could it have anything to do with that scripted shows does better in reruns and syndication and DVD sales than reality shows, which helps to make up for any alleged higher cost? And this would also be true after a strike. If the writers win, then I guess that scripted shows could get a bit more expensive caompared to reality shows, and thus reality shows would have a slightly easier time, but not likely to the degree that you predict.

The wages were rising before the unions came along and would continue to rise without unions. The only thing a union can do is to raise the wage for (some of) its members, while driving a number of people of the job the union represents and into other jobs with no or weak union which will make the wager fall in those jobs, or at the worst case into unemployment (which is why european countries with high unionization have higher unemployment than US).

Karen:
Inflation is mainly caused by the government printing more paper money, increases in wages and prices is normally happening because of the money inflation not the other way around.

November 04 2007 at 6:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

The networks considered their "demands" and rejected them. So, the employers and holding their employers (and stockholders) HOSTAGE by refusing to work. They agreed to a compensation package and now they refuse to honor their end of the deal.

While unions had a place,(a long long time ago - and then more in regards to issues of safety) they are the single greatest cause of inflation in this country. I bet the same people supporting the writers are complaining about outsourcing, etc. Oh and whatever increases the writers "win" will definately be passed on to you the consumer..the very ones complaining of paying for your tv on iTUNES.

The writers DO have the option of finding other jobs. They are not required to be television writers. If they can't negotiate what they consider a fair salary on their own, then they are welcome to look for another type of job. They are not ENTITLED to work in their chosen career. There are multitudes of other ways to earn money while writing.

I don't have an opinion one way or the other on what they should make, however, I totally oppose the "right" to organize and pull this kind of stuff. It seems to me to make more sense to sell their original work for a better price and give up the rights to the work. But, if they negotiate and different compensation package (individually - not collectively) then good for them. Whatever the market will bear. Meanwhile I hope the studios hold out for a long time.

Pffft -- hate, hate, hate UNIONS way more than I hate bad tv.

November 03 2007 at 7:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allen

The funny thing to me here is the number of people who are supportive of the strikers and their response is to sit back and watch Netflix and backed up shows on their DVR queue. Which doesn't support the writers at all.
Not saying it's wrong, just ironic.
The writers don't WANT to strike. Nor do the directors or the actors. But they all want an equitable piece of the pie.
Dumbasses like Karen are part of the problem, no doubt grew up in the 80's when unions were demonized by corporation loving administrations.
If the writers, et al, don't get some parity now when the alternative mediums are in their infancy, then when the explosion happens they will be so far behind the curve they won;t be able to catch up.
It happened with the commercial actors strike of 88. No money for cable (well barely any) and now actors have seen their incomes cut by half, thirds, 70% in many cases.
It's important to realize that without the writers, actors and directors there is no product. Middle management would love to get rid of them but they just cant.

November 03 2007 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ontrackp

This could be the end of television as we know it. The networks are in business to make money, and if they can make more with a reality show than a big budget scripted show, the big budget scripted shows may end up on an alternative distribution platform (i.e. you can subscribe to a season of Lost, or it ends up on HBO, for instance, where there is a different revenue model). Also, anybody can put a program on the internet without the high cost of transmission, which was always the networks trump card. They were the gate keepers for television, but that has changed.

This is a complex situation that can resolve many ways, but it doesn't look very good for the writers who want to hold onto a traditional model.

I believe the writer should get residual compensation along with the producer/director/studio/talent. But the iltunes, internet and mobile will require a new business model for all of them, and nobody knows what that is yet.

November 03 2007 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alicia

It's going to be bad... It's going to be long.... and I am going to start watching those movies that I have been sitting on top of my TV from Netflix.

And oh yea... pick up a book or two I am sure.

November 03 2007 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Amber

We just took a strike authorization vote recently with our union. How it works is that you authorize your union that if need be, they have your permission to call for a strike in negotiations. Negotiations still continue after the strike authorization. Nobody is being "held hostage." Work is still continuing until the actual strike date. You hope that the extreme measure of a strike isn't necessary and that both sides can come to a reasonable agreement. Nobody enjoys it. Nobody can afford it.

I have no clue how long it will last with the writers. I hope that they come to an agreement in the next few days so that it's not necessary. . .but it's a savvy move to do it during sweeps month. ;)

November 03 2007 at 9:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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