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October 31, 2014

WritersStrike

Why Is Television Losing Women Writers? Veteran Producers Weigh In

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 8th 2011 11:00AM
As the fall TV season approaches, it's worth taking a closer look at the people who have created and written the scripted fare you'll see.

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."

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Best TV of the '00s: News Events

by Brad Trechak, posted Jan 3rd 2010 2:03PM

9/11More of our best of the decade coverage, which started on Tuesday. You can read the other posts at the link above. We finish up the series by talking about some of the news events that defined the decade, and how TV covered them.

It seems odd to call the news events of the 00's a "best" list. As we started the 21st century, America seemed to have a different tragedy happening at every twist and turn. There was the Year 2000 bug followed by 9/11 followed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan followed by Hurricane Katrina followed by the worst recession since the Great Depression. We've also had various celebrity deaths recently including the iconic and controversial Michael Jackson.

The tragedies of the decade were accompanied by revolutionary change. America elected its first African-American President. New forms of media such as social networking arose like a phoenix from the ashes of the old media.

The decade was filled with many ups and downs, possibly more downs. The full repercussions of the events won't likely be acknowledged or analyzed for years or decades to come. Wherever we end up, it will have been one hell of a ride.

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Best TV of the '00s: Late Night Moments

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Jan 2nd 2010 1:01PM

Joaquim Phoenix on David Letterman
More of our best of the decade coverage, which started on Tuesday. You can read the other posts at the link above. Here, we talk about the funniest or most surprising late night moments of the last ten years.

In the past decade, late night shows continued to bloom in popularity. However, some of our favorite late night shows were shuffled around while some got new hosts.

No matter what network executives decided to do to the line up of US late night shows, their hosts and guest stars gave us plenty fantastic, OMG!, and WTF? moments that generated tons of watercooler talks and forum discussion threads.

Below are some of the best late night moments of the past decade as chosen by some of the TV Squad bloggers. We realize there are tough choices in this category, so we hope you'll add your own favorites in the comments section below.

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Will the Peacock's plumage perk up now that Ben Silverman has bailed ship?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jul 28th 2009 12:02PM
Former NBC Entertainment Chair Ben SilvermanNBC has broken some interesting new ground under their now-former entertainment co-chairman, but they have also broken new lows in the same amount of time. The only reason it is hovering between third and fourth is because UPN isn't around anymore to screw with the flowcharts.

Ben Silverman has made some significant contributions to the Peacock Network, most notably with the smash cult hit The Office, a show that wouldn't have even had a second season if people like Silverman weren't willing to give it a chance to grow.

Overall, however, NBC is in the dumper. And this is from a network that used to dominate free TV in almost every single category, from comedies to dramas to the newly mutated drama-comedies or dramadies. These days, "comas" is a more appropriate term.

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SAG ratifies new contract to avoid yet another Hollywood strike

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jun 10th 2009 6:05PM
The Screen Actors Guild voted to avoid a strike Tuesday.The long Hollywood labor nightmare that began in November of last year officially ended yesterday when the Screen Actors Guild overwhelmingly ratified a new contract with the studios.

Guild members voted 78% in favor of the new agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP), despite calls by hard-line union members who urged actors to vote "no" and force continued negotiations.

It's clear that two huge factors in the SAG approval were general labor strife fatigue and the struggling economy.

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It's official: Chuck is saved!

by Kona Gallagher, posted May 17th 2009 9:28PM
ChuckWell it looks like buying all of those $5 footlongs really paid off: Chuck has officially been renewed for a third season. The spy comedy hasn't always gotten the greatest ratings, in no small part because its highly-competitive Monday night timeslot, but fans all over the internet have been pushing hard for its renewal.

There has been a huge outpouring of support on Twitter, where #savechuck has often been a trending topic. Even the show's star, Zachary Levi, has done his part to get Chuck back for another season. In addition to taking to his official blog to plead his case, he even showed up at a Subway (one of Chuck's biggest sponsors) to make sandwiches for fans.

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NBC confirms: Life is dead

by Kona Gallagher, posted May 4th 2009 4:40PM
life nbc

While they haven't yet made an announcement about other on-the-bubble shows, including Medium, Law & Order, and of course, Chuck, NBC's Ben Silverman has confirmed that Life has indeed been canceled. Life is just the latest victim of the Writers' Strike curse: ABC's Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, and Dirty Sexy Money are among some of the other series that had their freshman seasons interrupted by the strike that began in November of 07, and won't live to see a third season.

Other second season shows, including the aforementioned Chuck, along with ABC's Samantha Who? and FOX's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles are currently on the bubble. The CW's Gossip Girl is one of the few shows that premiered during the 07-08 season that is definitely going to make it to the 09-10 one.

The strike spooked the networks and advertisers, and we're obviously feeling the effects now, over a year after it ended. What it boils down to is a lot of great shows are suffering-- and Ben Silverman is a dick.

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Leno gets questioned by the WGA

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 26th 2009 12:03PM
LenoRemember when, as all the late-night shows came back during last year's writers' strike, Jay Leno mentioned on the air that he was writing his own monologue jokes? As you might expect, that didn't sit well with the rank-and-file of the WGA, but the guild decided to ruminate on it because a) he was very supportive of the union at the beginning of the strike and b) it's Jay Leno.

Apparently, though, the union has had a change of heart. The Tonight Show's outgoing host has been called to testify to the union's trial committee on charges that he violated the terms of the strike by writing for himself. Both Leno and NBC claim that there was language in the strike terms that said performers could write for themselves, even if they were guild members like Leno. The union, however, disagrees.

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Best and Worst of 2008: Allison's list

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 3rd 2009 11:03AM
badIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times ... and a lot of it happened right on our TV screens. As we look forward to 2009, here's one more glimpse back at what was good and what was really NOT in the year gone by.

Overall, it seems like the Writer's Strike really hurt the business. Shows that might have survived, didn't. New shows have been stuck in development longer than usual. But despite all that, there were moments that were thrilling, shows that are terrific ... and those that weren't.

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Is SAG about to kick themselves in the head?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 31st 2008 12:00PM
If you were hoping the Screen Actors Guild would be able to rise above the fray and destroy the networks' heads with a mighty swipe of their superbly manicured hands, then keep hoping. Christmas is over and Santa has come and gone. Ask him next year.

The SAG's latest tactical move against the money grubbing networks is to oust their own negotiators.

If this were a military theater, we would be calling this a case of "friendly fire."

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Top TV Stories of 2008: Web TV goes big time - VIDEOS

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 19th 2008 7:02PM
NPH as Dr. HorribleAs I look back at the posts TV Squad did this year, a certain topic popped up quite a bit: "Hey, folks, take a look at [Name of big star] in this [funny/quirky/dramatic] web series you can only find at [Name of web site]!" While the quality of and star power behind web-exclusive programming has been building for a couple of years now, 2008 saw an explosion of web series that attracted enough buzz to make one wonder if Jeff Zucker wasn't thinking of this a little bit when he offered Jay Leno the 10:00 slot on NBC.

What caused this explosion? Well, we can thank one of 2008's other big stories -- the writers' strike -- for a lot of it.

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Life: Find Your Happy Place (season premiere)

by Richard Keller, posted Sep 30th 2008 9:01AM

Crews and Reese are back again for season two of 'Life'.

(S02E01) Ten months. That's how long its been since we've seen a fresh episode of Life. After the last episode aired in November there was nary a word about the show, save for reports of its renewal and a bit about casting changes. This left fans of the show in a bit of a tizzy. For Life wasn't just a dime-a-dozen criminal procedural, but a show with an underlying story about conspiracy and the search for justice. By the time the show ended its very short first season we were cheering Detective Charlie Crews as he was able to get a semblance of his freedom back.

Now we enter season two. And, as usual, the following question comes to mind: did it carry on the spirit of season one? Well yes, and possibly no. Click ahead to find out.

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USA orders 16 new episodes of L&O: Criminal Intent

by Allison Waldman, posted May 23rd 2008 3:01PM
CI logoJust when you think it's over, they pull it back in! Actually, I think this is great news and nothing to bemoan. USA Network has ordered 16 new episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. The third spin-off from NBC's venerable -- 18 seasons strong -- Law and Order, CI moved to USA -- part of the NBCU family -- last year after six years on NBC. What's the difference between the shows on NBC and the shows on USA? Absolutely nothing. The quality of the show and the talent in front and behind the camera has remained the same, so I'm really happy that there'll be new L&O: CI in the future. I prefer scripted drama to more reality TV.
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My Name Is Earl reruns start airing on TBS in March

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 21st 2008 5:43PM
Earl castTV Squad reported this a while back, so consider this a reminder, all you My Name Is Earl devotees. TBS will begin airing back-to-back episodes of the NBC/Emmy-winning sitcom on Mondays at 10:00 and 10:30 starting March 3rd. This is a chance to catch up on all the episodes from the very beginning. If you don't already know all about Earl's list, the true meaning of Karma, and why the Hickey brothers share a bed, this will fill in the blanks.

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Earl creator worked fast food during strike

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 15th 2008 5:41PM
Greg GarciaHere's a story that's bound to bring a smile to your face (it did mine). During the protracted, agonizing Writer's Guild strike, at least one Hollywood scribe chose not to lounge by the pool and wait it out. My Name Is Earl creator, Greg Garcia, decided to "get back in touch" with the TV viewers of America. He took a job at a fast-food restaurant, never letting on to his fellow employees -- or anyone else -- that he was an Emmy-winning writer/producer. As a cashier and occasional janitor, Greg spent the month of January rubbing elbows with the real world. You might wonder, why would he do it?

His answer is simple: "I've wanted to do a book about taking different jobs and what it was like to do them," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "This was the first. It may be a while before I do the second. But it's just about the fact that we live behind gates and work behind gates, and as a writer you start to lose touch with the audience. You start running out of life experience."

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