In the 2006-2007 television season, 35 percent of the writers of broadcast network, prime-time programs were women, according to an annual study by San Diego State University's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. In the 2010-2011 season, that number had dropped by more than half, to 15 percent. What happened?
Since the latest edition of the annual SDSU study came out two weeks ago, I've posed that question to a dozen experienced television writers and creators, female and male alike. Most of these professionals, who've worked on everything from 'Battlestar Galactica' to 'Sons of Anarchy' to 'Pushing Daisies' to 'Chuck,' were alarmed by the numbers that the Center released.
For some, it confirmed their worst fears. "The situation is getting worse," said one veteran woman writer. "In the '90s, the networks cared more. They don't anymore." For others, it made them re-evaluate gains they thought women had made. "I had certainly perceived the situation as getting better and better for women -- I am rarely the only woman in the writers' room anymore, and I encounter more women at the higher levels," said Jane Espenson ('Once Upon a Time,' 'Torchwood,' 'Buffy,' 'Battlestar Galactica'). "I remember what it was like 20 years ago, and this is not that."
The first few minutes of season 4 were shown before the panel (by the way, spoilers ahoy). Would it surprise you to learn that the clip ends with club members on their motorcycles, flipping off the prison that they just left after 14 months of incarceration? No, I do not think it would.
He's been letting it rip via a series of potty-mouthed posts on Twitter since the nominations were announced.
Despite predicting on Wednesday that 'Sons of Anarchy' wouldn't be nominated -- "Tomorrow morning I'll be the fat kid who didn't get picked to play" -- the lack of nods still seems to have annoyed Sutter.
He wrote, "Best part of not getting an emmy nod. now i don't have to pretend i give a s**t about the profiteering d*****bag academy ... because you know if we were nominated i'd be all humble and blowing smoke up their asses. now i can stay true to myself and just be a d**k."
Not a smart move if you ask me. Isn't his ratings what finally did him and Jay Leno in, even if Conan has more public support than Superman and Batman combined if they were doing battle with Lex Luthor, The Joker and Jeff Zucker?
The soon-to-be former Tonight Show host has gotten a ton of other offers from a personal invitation from Kurt Sutter to play an IRA gun runner on next season's Sons of Anarchy to a starring role in a Pink Visual porno called Conan the Bangbarian. Now ol' "Conebone69" himself has asking his viewers to vote for his fate in an online poll at the show's official website.
As of Tuesday afternoon and of no surprise to anyone with a working central nervous system, the porno offer is in the lead with 34 percent.
Kurt Sutter, creator and executive producer of FX's Sons of Anarchy, has offered ol' Coco a role on the upcoming season of Sons of Anarchy.
Sutter said he could weave Conan into the IRA subplot that will bleed into the new season and that he really needs "a bad-ass O'Brien on my team. Guns, blood, fist fights -- you could really work some [expletive deleted] out."
Man, if you thought Henry Rollins was tough, just imagine a raging Conan O'Brien on the loose. Sure A.J. Weston, Rollins' character, was a muscleheaded sociopathic anti-semite with a Godsmack complex, but he also signed a contract with the likes of Jeff Zucker, a man who makes the evil Ethan Zobelle look like Shari Lewis.
If you haven't watched it yet, we won't spoil it for you. Suffice to say the show earned its kudos that night, especially in the last 20 minutes. Not surprisingly, Kurt Sutter has signed a two-year deal to continue as 'Sons' showrunner, and FX has ordered 13 episodes for the show's third season, scheduled to begin in September 2010. What?! We have to wait nearly a year?! Ok, well, as Tony Soprano would say, what are ya gonna do?
(S02E12) "Either you or me goes home in a bag." - Jax to A.J.
The showdown we've been waiting all season to see finally happened tonight and even though it didn't end the way the antagonists deserved (i.e. heads removed where the shoulder meets the neck, placed on a stick and paraded around town on a substandard Japanese import), it still had my head spinning.
The show opens with SAMCRO preparing for their big, inevitable smackdown with the League by keeping all of their loved ones under lock and key at the clubhouse. But instead of just jumping into the fray head first with baseball bats twisted in barb-wire and all, they do what they should have done from the beginning: they plotted and planned. They turned the tables on the League and by doing so, turned the League on each other.
FX's press kit for the forthcoming second season of Sons of Anarchy has none of these things. There are no bloody brass knuckle sets, fake handlebar mustaches or even a lousy T-shirt that reads "The bitch fell off" on the back, perfect for that upcoming christening or bar-mitzvah.
That doesn't mean it's bad. In fact, it's one of the most bitching press kits to ever grace my cold, ink-stained hands.
FX held panels for Archer and Sons of Anarchy on Friday morning, but by then press tour fatigue had set in, and the energy in the room was low for both. It was especially low for Archer, a Adult Swim-esque spy cartoon by the creator of Sealab 2021 that most of the critics hadn't yet seen. The panel seemed to be more content with answering with wise-ass remarks that made themselves laugh but the just served to make us tired masses annoyed.
Things perked up, though, when the network presented five of its show-runners to talk about what it's like to develop edgy dramas for basic cable. But since the theme of the week has invariably been "Leno at 10," the questions often came back to the fact that NBC with one fell swoop wiped out five hours of scripted drama per week. And the show-runners took every opportunity to bash the Peacock for it.
And it got ugly: "I feel they should take the American flag down in front of the building and just put up a white one," said Rescue Me's Peter Tolan, "because they've clearly given up."
Well now, if you were having trouble deciding between the competing biker shows in development, perhaps this news will tip your TV watching scales. FX has signed up Ron Perlman (Beauty And The Beast) to take over the role of Clay, president of the motorcycle club, and step-father to the main character Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), in Kurt Sutter's Sons Of Anarchy.
The part was played by Scott Glenn in the pilot, but the powers that be chose to recast it after deciding to make the series more of a dark comedy. I'm not exactly sure what that means, because I could go for Glenn in a dark comedy, but adding Perlman does heighten my interest in the show, to be sure. If you just can't wait for the show to premiere to get your Perlman fix, he'll be showing up at your local multiplex with Hellboy II: The Golden Army in July.
Why have one outlaw biker show when you can have two? I always find it a little odd when you see two movies or television shows pop up at the same time that share strikingly similar premises. And that's what we have here. Sons Of Anarchy, from The Shield writer/executive producer Kurt Sutter, centers on an outlaw motorcycle club in Charming, CA. Clearly much different than HBO's 1%, which tells the story of an outlaw motorcycle club in Carefree, AZ. They're two completely different states after all.
Of course, I kid... a little bit. The shows do have different takes on the subject, and there is a rundown of the development time lines for both of them in the article at The Hollywood Reporter. Sons will focus on Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) and the conflict that develops as his loyalty to the club clashes with his trepidation where their lawlessness is concerned. Sutter's wife, Katey Sagal, is along for the ride as Teller's mother. The role of Jax's step-father was played by Scott Glenn in the pilot but will be recast in the series. I'm not sure if there is room for two biker shows on the television schedule, but with Sutter in charge of Sons, and Donal Logue signed on for 1%, I'll have to take a look at both of them.
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