But it turns out I was wrong. The various companies have settled an age discrimination suit brought by 165 veteran writers (yes, over 40!) of some of your favorite TV shows, including M*A*S*H, Maude, Knot's Landing, All in the Family, Kojak, Falcon Crest, and many others. The plaintiffs get $70M.
This is getting serious.
Both sides are still far from agreement on a new deal, and a strike by the Writers Guild of America could start in a couple of weeks (the last offer was rejected by writers). That means that scripted shows (Lost and House, for example) and late night talk shows would suffer the most. Some shows have a schedule that means they won't be affected that much, like The Simpsons, but most other scripted shows will be hurt in some way. As for daytime, Martha Stewart wouldn't be affected at all, but The View uses union writers so that should could be hit. (The View uses writers? So that means a writer actually puts those words into Elisabeth Hasselbeck's mouth?)
Writing is one of the oddest professions. A lot of people just don't get what we do, why we do it, how we do it, or what we get paid. I've encountered countless numbers of people who think that I'm rich because I'm a writer and "that lady J.K. Rowling is a writer and she's rich!" or they think I shouldn't get paid that much because "writing is easy and fun" or some other sort of logic.
Brookes Barnes doesn't get it either. He has an op-ed piece in the New York Times this week about the latest negotiations between the WGA and the AMPTP. TV and film writers want a piece of the DVD sales pie. Barnes seems to think that they're asking for too much because...well, I'll let Barnes explain it himself, in his opening paragraph:
Welcome to TV Squad Lists (formerly 'The Five'), a feature where each blogger has a chance to list his or her own rundown of things in television that stand out from the rest, both good and bad.
TV usually gets the writing profession wrong. I've never understood why, since shows and characters are written by writers themselves. Maybe they think they have to dumb it down for the general audience. That's why you have writers like Jessica Fletcher, who just sits down at the typewriter and the words come out fine and she mails it off to her publisher. This happens all the time on television. And have you ever noticed that when you hear the writing that a writer character has done on a show it's almost always terrible? Why is that?
After the jump are six writer characters on TV that were done correctly.
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