Fortunately, I don't see a SAG strike in the future. However, here are ten things I'm betting will happen by the time the ball drops on December 31st.
1. Martin Scorsese will be the next big thing on HBO. He's producing a drama based on the book Boardwalk Empire. HBO is overdue to launch another big series in The Sopranos tradition. Boardwalk Empire seems to have all the right elements: violence, sex, gambling, and Oscar-winning, iconic director Martin Scorsese.
2008 was a strange one for television. Not because of the intense political and economic coverage, or the 27000 hours of Olympic telecasts, or the fact that Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul held back from killing each other for yet another season. No, the reason for the strangeness was that, at the beginning of the year, the schedule was a bit disjointed. This was thanks to the lengthy writers' strike.
Lasting from early November 2007 until February and costing up to two billion dollars, the WGA strike did something that previous labor disputes had not done to TV in the past: it changed the face of television. These were not cosmetic changes that reverted back to normal once the strike ended. These were changes that altered television as we now it and set the stage for its very uncertain future.
Those Norma Rae days are long gone. Now the only strikes we hear about are ones like the latest looming threat of a strike by the Screen Actors Guild, according to Reuters.
It's not that I don't feel sorry for SAG members or that I'm against their plight. Just about every industry in America has greedy CEOs who take as much as they can from as many as they can, all under the guise of performance and production bonuses earned by not running the company into Hell. It just feels like it could not have come at a worse time.
Currently, SAG is working under a contract that expired on June 30. The WGA strike began on November 5, 2007 and was finally settled on February 12, 2008. Rosenberg and SAG knew how damaging the strike had been, and in the months before June 30, they tried for a settlement. They didn't get it done then, and they've been treading water ever since.
Giveaways are one way to drive awareness -- and sample the product -- but another is with a print ad campaign. Recently, Gossip Girl came up with a savvy set of posters and advertisements to call attention to the naughtiness of the show.
Now comes a new, original campaign for Showtime's Dexter in which the Michael C. Hall's character is imagined on the cover of magazines. Dexter on Esquire, The New Yorker, GQ, Wired; high-profile magazines that have a distinctive look, reconfigured for serial killer hiding in plain sight, Dexter Morgan. The ads look amazing and will be seen in all variety of magazines and plastered up as posters all over the place.
In 2008, the decisions about the 60th anniversary Emmys are still in the works for the September LA broadcast, but one decision has already been made. It won't be in the round. While it looked good on air, the industry didn't like it. "People loved it at home. It had a great look, but you know, you try things, you want to bring something fresh to the show."
They're calling it the Truth Tour and it begins with a Wednesday morning press conference in front of WGA headquarters following by a set of fake auditions at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, where auditions are held for the actual American Idol. They call it "the version they don't want you to see".
That's good to know -- especially in these dog days of summer TV -- but if you want to know what's going to happen next, read on. Both Jerry Ferarra and Kevin Connolly, Turtle and E, got a little chatty with OK! magazine's Oliver Coleman.
If you don't want to know how things are going to unfold in season five, don't read after the jump.
Participating television (and movie) writers include Lester Lewis (The Office), Rob Kutner (The Daily Show), Stephen E. de Souza (Die Hard), Karen Harris (General Hospital) and Ron Corcillo (Malcolm in the Middle). Acting talent involved with the programming include Bob Newhart, Timothy Dalton and Kristen Wiig.
Since Fox had the Super Bowl last season, House had been given the plum spot following the game. That always means a huge audience will be watching, and even a show as successful as House wouldn't mind a boost in the ratings.
Oh, if only the "reality-free" tag above meant something else when it comes to this.
Just when you thought you could sit back in your comfy chair and watch TV this fall, comes news that possible Screen Actor's Guild strike that has been talked about for weeks is very close to actually happening. The deadline is June 30, and while a lot of people in the industry thought that the contracts signed at the end of the writer's strike earlier this year (ah, remember those days?) could serve as a blueprint, that might not be the case.
And you thought that all that business with the WGA strike was over.
The writers for the new animated FOX show Sit Down, Shut Up have walked out, saying they were misled by Sony Pictures. They thought that under the agreement reached a few months ago they would be represented by the Writer's Guild of America but Sony actually has them covered under the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Under their rules, writers don't get all those things they fought for, including new media (online, DVD, etc) money or even residuals.
The show was never really embraced whole-heartedly, either critically or in the ratings, but it managed a second shot. Unfortunately for Cox and company, that second season was cut short by the WGA Strike, and as with many bubble shows, it just fell by the wayside. Maybe the tweaking they did to the format for Season Two, making it lighter and more accessible to the casual viewer turned off more of their hardcore fans than they anticipated. Maybe the ratings it was getting just weren't enough for FX to pick back up production after the strike. Maybe David Arquette had a habit of showing up on the set in his BVDs and it finally just got to be too much for the cast and crew, so they walked. Or maybe Shane dropped a grenade in Lucy's lap in that finale they just never got a chance to film.
Given that you've made the wise choice to visit tvsquad.com, I feel pretty safe jumping to the conclusion that you are a fan of television. With that in mind, you should really enjoy the round table Hollywood Reporter recently put together with Damon Lindelof (Lost), Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies), David Shore (House), Matthew Weiner (Mad Men), and Craig Thomas (How I Met Your Mother).
The group got together to talk about a number of different topics. Among them, the strike and what could be the cause of the lowered numbers as shows came back. They also share some amusing examples of they hypocrisy that is network standards and practices. The Emmys come up as well, with the group sharing their thoughts about who is deserving of consideration. It all makes for an interesting look behind the scenes and is definitely worth your click. And if all that isn't enough, the story also includes a video where Damon Lindelof manages to reference both Nash Bridges and Remington Steele. Who can pass up Nash Bridges?
First, All My Children has brought in the super-experienced Charles Pratt, Jr. to take over the script duties. He being June 23, but with the lead time for soaps, his stories won't begin unfolding for about six weeks. Still, ABC daytime prez Brian Frons, was singing Chuck's praises in the announcement, saying, "Charles Pratt, Jr. is a master storyteller. His talents in writing today's biggest primetime hits in conjunction with his vast experience with daytime dramas will undoubtedly elevate All My Children stories in new and exciting directions."
Pratt does have extensive experience, including Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Melrose Place, Santa Barbara, and back in 2002, General Hospital. The guy can spin a yarn and joining All My Children he'll have lots of great characters to explore. He's also coming in just as two major stars have been added to the All My Children cast, Guiding Light transplants Beth Ehlers and Ricky Paull Goldin.
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