As we approach Christmas Eve, and visions of new episodes of Heroes dance in your head, it's time to give thanks for everything you have in your life. I know I'm thankful for family, friends, and this delicious chai I'm drinking right now, but I'm also thankful for hysterical web sites like LateShowWritersOnStrike.com, the blog that Letterman's staff has been keeping since the strike started. And a few days ago they posted a strike-related crafts project you can make at home.
It's the Gingerbread Network Headquarters!
Today's offer of putrefied pond water to us thirsty masses is StrikeTV.com. Wired.com is reporting that after the holidays, the striking writers will use the site to post "videos and other media supporting the strike." It's not much and, when you get right down to it, it's less "entertainment" than "snarky rhetoric," but hey, it's something.
The Golden Globes (airing January 13) and Oscars (February 24) sought waivers to allow union writers to help put together their awards shows, but Reuters tells us that the WGA says it will deny those waivers. Show organizers say they will go on regardless. As for what to do for scribes, Leslie Unger, spokeswoman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said "There are any number of possible options we might explore" regarding what the Oscars intend.
One possibility is to hire non-union writers. How pissed would the WGA be if the reviews were great, the jokes actually funny and the telecast considered to be the best Academy Awards show ever! Another possibility, and I have no idea why this hasn't been explored seriously already, is the Family Guy manatee writers. South Park showed how prolific they were, and there are simply tons of lame award show jokes that could be written on balls and thrown in the tank. Or do you think they're members of the union, too?
As you will see, my "All I want for Festivus" list is tainted by the fact I live in Canada. Since I know there are a lot of Canadians reading TV Squad, I decided to not remove these items from my list as I know I'm not the only one out there wanting them.
Without further ado, here is what I wish Festivus Claus will bring me this year!
As the strike lingers on and the Writers Guild of American (WGA) and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) seem no closer to bridging their philosophical and monetary gap, the WGA is set to try a new tactic. According to Variety, the WGA is going to make a "legal demand" today for individual members of the AMPTP to schedule bargaining meetings with the WGA. However, at this point it isn't clear if the companies are legally obligated to do so, and if not, will they?
The Golden Globes weren't the only award nominations announced today. The Writers Guild of America announced the nominees for their awards too. The festivities are on February 9 in LA and NY. I wonder if the writers will show up to get their awards if the strike is still going on?
Maybe the strike's not all bad. That's what some studio executives are saying in this Variety article. The winter TCA Tour has been canceled already and upfronts are now in jeopardy. And just as it took the lead in pulling out of the TCA, NBC has already said they will forgo the multimillion dollar extravaganza the upfronts had turned into.
But from the network's point of view these are good things, as they'd been wanting to cut some of these expenses for years. What does that mean? The TCA Tours may be done for good, ditto the upfront "events." And that may just be the start of changes in the television landscape we've come to know and love.
What do you do when it's Fall Pilot season but there isn't anyone available to write pilots? Things are getting a little scary for next season's slate of new shows that don't exist yet. And last night, as our own Joel Keller reports, the networks and Television Critics Association (TCA) agreed to cancel the winter tour. It makes sense considering the TCA Tour generally involves the networks touting their upcoming programming to the 200 or so members of the association so as to get good press (hopefully) to build buzz. With the way things are going, had the event occurred, it would have been a very dry affair.
"So, we've got some reality shows coming up, and we're looking at doing some reruns."
"Really. Wow, that's interesting, which network were you again ... Oh that's right. It doesn't matter."
Just wanted to give you an update on the ongoing writers strike, before you head off to your glorious weekends of skiing, Christmas shopping, Naked Twister parties and whatever else you folks do on Saturdays and Sundays.
Talks broke off between producers and the writers on Friday, after four days of talks that at first seemed to be productive and then ... well, not so much. In fact, the Writers Guild of America sent out a letter Friday afternoon that pretty much said that the producers were dragging their heels in the talks and even accused them of trying to sabotage the talks. Of course, the Alliance of Motion Picture And Television Producers also sent out their own letter on Friday to explain their side.
As 2007 is about to turn into 2008, it really doesn't look like we're going to see that many new scripted shows for the rest of the season (besides what is already in the can and will be seen in January and February). This could last for months.
Used to be, the summer season was where cable channels could air their shows without the staggering competition of network fare. But more and more they've been pushing their series into the fall and spring sessions. So it only seems fair that, considering the current strike, the broadcast networks are considering pushing the current season into the summer months. According to this TV Week article, executives are open to the idea, on a case-by-case basis.
Factors to determine if it is worth doing include how many episodes have already aired, how long it takes to produce new episodes and how much it might push production into the start of the 2008-2009 production schedule. Also they seem more willing to push a serial show (like Lost) into the summer months than a procedural (like House), as avid viewers of serials feel they must watch every episode while it is not as important with procedurals, and besides they play better in reruns.
It's an odd situation when you are not only a member of the Writers Guild and want to support your fellow writers, but you're also the showrunner of the show you write for. Tina Fey is in that situation at 30 Rock, though she's been on the picket lines from the beginning.
Another producer who is in that situation is Carlton Cuse over at Lost. There were mysterious rumors (just like Lost itself!) going around the industry that Cuse had actually gone back to work on the show. To make sure there was no confusion as to where he stands, Cuse sent out an e-mail to everyone explaining everything.
Our long, dark national nightmare ... continues. After four days of talks and media silence, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) disclosed the latest offer presented by Hollywood studios to the striking writers. But the WGA (Writers Guild of America) quickly rejected this offer, according to Yahoo! News. The studios described their offer as a "new economic partnership" with writers, who refer to it instead as a "massive rollback."
They went on to disparage the offer point by point. As an example, the studio offered less than $250 for a year's reuse of an hour long show for Internet streaming, one of the biggest catalysts for the strike in the first place, as compared to $20,000 plus for a single network rerun airing.
Even though The Late Show and The Late Late Show are in reruns, the company that produces them, Worldwide Pants, is continuing to pay their staff. The announcement came from the offices of WWP and went on to say that the writers (Update: the entire staff is being paid) for both shows in New York and in Los Angeles will continue to earn a salary, at least through the end of the year.
Worldwide Pants is owned by David Letterman who, as a writer for his talk show is in a precarious position. As a member of the WGA, Letterman is forbidden to do any writing for the show but as an executive producer he is still involved in the day to day decisions regarding the show.
Today on TV Squad Daily: The video still frame is me with the dopiest look ever on my face.
- Showrunners are joining the writers on the picket lines, shutting down Hollywood at an even faster rate than before.
- It's always something. The cast of Grey's Anatomy is rumored to be bickering over who gets the good picketing spots.
- Jennifer Love Hewitt required the services of a real-life "ghost whisperer" recently for her home in LA.
Michael Ausiello over at TV Guide has a long list of television shows and how many new episodes are left. I'll give you a quick list of the most popular shows, and you can click on over to see the others (not everything is listed):
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