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August 27, 2014

writers guild of america

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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Cable Shows Rule Writers Guild Award Nominations

by Chris Harnick, posted Dec 8th 2010 3:30PM
Boardwalk EmpireCable shows such as 'Breaking Bad' and 'Boardwalk Empire' dominate this year's list of award nominees from the Writers Guild of America.

Despite recent controversy, the writing staff of 'The Walking Dead' received a nomination under the best new series category. Also on the new series list: 'Men of a Certain Age,' 'Treme,' 'Justified' and 'Boardwalk Empire.'

For the last time ever, 'Lost' has scored a nomination for its appropriately titled series finale, 'The End.'

Over on the comedy side, '30 Rock,' 'Modern Family,' 'Futurama' and 'The Simpsons' all garnered more than one nomination. Check out more nominees after the jump.

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WGA Awards Backstage Report: Seth MacFarlane, Larry David Take No Prisoners

by Michael Maloney, posted Feb 22nd 2010 1:00PM

Seth MacFarlane WGA AwardsCould season 4 be the final one for 'Mad Men'? Which hit sitcom is on its way to Hawaii? There was lots of TV scoop (and more than a few laughs) found at the 2010 Writers Guild of America Awards, which were handed out to television, film and video game writers on Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Century City, California.

The evening kicked off with a promise from host Seth MacFarlane ('Family Guy') to do the best "Tom Bergeron, Jeff Probst, Heidi Klum, Ryan Seacrest and Howie Mandel" job he could do, a reference to the five reality show hosts' critically panned performance at the 60th Annual Prime Time Emmys.

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WGA to honor Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 20th 2010 2:00PM
larry_david_stairsIf you're one of the millions, nay billions, who's laughed at the antics of Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer or if you can't pick up an order of kung pao shrimp without wondering if they shorted you on the number of shrimp, then you -- my friend -- are a Larry David fan. The brain behind Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, David has a unique comic view of the world and on February 20, the Writers Guild of America is giving Larry David a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The actual award is called the Paddy Chayevsky Laurel award for television, and Larry has most definitely earned the recognition. Seinfeld remains a masterpiece of character and comedy with or without a plot. The very nothingness of Seinfeld made it historic television. It was a show that NBC nearly canceled because the suits didn't get it (what a shock!), then went on to become America's favorite half-hour. Twenty years later, Seinfeld is embedded in the psyche of pop culture. Not bad for a nothing kind of show.

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2010 Writers Guild Award nominees announced

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 16th 2009 9:38AM
writers_guild_america_logoRound up the usual suspects. That would seem to be the appropriate line when you look at the nominees for the 2010 Writers Guild Awards. That doesn't mean that all these nominees are not worthy; they are some of the best 2009 television for sure. It's just that inevitably some shows are left out in favor of the tried old faves.

For instance, in the comedy category, can you really put Modern Family in and completely diss The Big Bang Theory? I can't. I'm not even happy about the annual goopfest for 30 Rock, a sitcom that I've grown tired of -- but that's just me. I'd prefer How I Met Your Mother to get some time, or United States of Tara or Nurse Jackie or The Middle. All four of those show have been superior to 30 Rock -- to me.

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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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Harlan Ellison suing Paramount over Star Trek stuff

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 16th 2009 5:03PM
Star Trek ornamentHarlan Ellison is a great writer and also one guy you don't want to piss off.

He wrote the classic Star Trek episode "City on the Edge of Forever" (often called by best episode of the original series by fans and non-fans alike), and now he's suing CBS-Paramount over what they have done with the story since he got paid for writing it in 1967. He got paid for the script and got residuals, but in the years after the episode aired the studio has not only published a sequel trilogy with Pocket Books based on the episode, they even had a "Guardian of Forever" talking Hallmark Christmas ornament that said Ellison's lines from his script, so he wants his money.

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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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The SAG strikes back

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 11th 2008 11:02AM
Remember the good old days when dock workers, air traffic controllers, teachers, and strike placard makers went on strike? Good, hard-working people who didn't make much money but put their bodies and well-being on the line every day to improve themselves and their community. In exchange, they received measly little things like health insurance, safe work conditions, and a vending machine in the break room that didn't eat quarters, dollars or fingers.

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.

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The Simpsons leads WGA Award nominees

by Mike Moody, posted Dec 9th 2008 3:28PM
the simpsons wga writers guild awards homerMaybe I should watch The Simpsons more often. The Writer's Guild of America has nominated FOX's long-running animated sitcom for best comedy series along with 30 Rock, The Office, Entourage and Weeds. This is the first time The Simpsons has nabbed a Best Comedy nom from the WGA. Considering that the show has been on for 19 years, I gotta ask -- Why now?

Did the success of The Simpson's Movie really re-energize the show's creative team that much? It's been years since I watched The Simpsons regularly, or even quoted the show in conversation with my friends. I figured its best days were behind it, but maybe I was wrong. The few eps I caught last season were pretty hit-and-miss. I wasn't too impressed with the Departed spoof, "The Debarted," but I really dug watching Homer invent grunge music in "That '90s Show." Were all the following eps as good as that one?

The WGA also nominated four episodes of The Simpsons in the category of best animation broadcast. Needless to say, I'll probably be tuning in when the series returns with fresh eps next year. Click through for a list of more WGA TV nominees.

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More signs of the product placement apocalypse

by Brett Love, posted Aug 5th 2008 8:25AM

Psych - Jeff Fahey and Mercedes Mcnab
Ah, product placement. It's a subject that's come up before. We have an award for it, and even as far back as those care free days of 2005, Karina was writing about the Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild Of America protesting it. The telling quote from that piece, "Our writers are being told to perform the function of ad copywriter, but to disguise this as storytelling." And isn't that where most of us have always drawn the line in the sand? The placing of products into sets was kind of an understood cost of doing business, but having the writers change scripts to incorporate them was a whole other ball of (Turtle) wax. Unfortunately, those (Foster Farms) chickens have come home to roost.

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It's the WGA versus American Idol

by Brad Trechak, posted Jul 11th 2008 12:23PM
American IdolWith the WGA Strike as ancient history, the guild is now pushing to have reality shows join its organization. In an effort to do this, the WGA is specifically targeting the show American Idol.

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".

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Strike Aftermath: Strike-breaker Hunt!

by Brad Trechak, posted Apr 23rd 2008 7:06AM
WGA StrikeThe WGA has posted the names of 28 writers who crossed picket lines during the WGA Strike on their website. Most of them went to work on soap operas. The union also posted an open letter ridiculing them for breaking the strike.

All these writers still have "financial core" status in which they pay union dues and are still represented by the Guild. They can't, however, participate in guild elections (either with votes or holding an office) or union activities.

The Association of Motion Picture and Television denounced this move accusing the WGA of violating labor law by "seeking to deny employment to these writers in the future."

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WGA ends strike; writers back to work by Wednesday

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 11th 2008 9:18AM
WGA StrikeWGA leaders voted unanimously Sunday to endorse the proposed deal with studios, effectively ending the three month writers' strike that has crippled the television industry. While they do feel that the deal falls short, it still makes key gains in dealing with the new media; remember that it was this area of downloads and internet streaming that was one of the most important issues to the guild.

While the strike is ended per union leaders, writers won't return to work until the membership itself has had a chance to vote on the new deal. They are expected to vote "yes" on Tuesday and be back to work by Wednesday. The timing of this resolution means that some of this season can yet be salvaged and there's still time for pilot production for new series next year. For details on how this will affect your favorite shows, Keep up to date with Mike Ausiello's nearly comprehensive list of when your shows will return. And now things can get back to normal, and we can all go back to needlessly hating on According to Jim, the way God intended.

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