Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Writers Strike May Be Over

For those of you who have not heard yet, it appears the Writers Strike may almost be over. Yesterday leaders of the Writers Guild of America recommended a deal to the guild's membership. They also stressed that if holding out for something better could be catastrophic. Today the WGA board met and unanimously passed a resolution which asks the Guild's members to vote on the new contract and end the current strike. If the WGA approves the new contract, they could be back at work as soon as Wednesday.

The current Writers Strike began November 5 of last year (which, perhaps fittingly, is Guy Fawkes Day in Britain...). Its immediate effect was to disrupt the current television season, as the broadcast networks soon found themselves running out of episodes of their TV series. Because of the strike, 24 will not even air this season. Originally pushed back to January of this year, Fox decided to wait until next season so all 24 episodes of the series could be broadcast without interruption. Other shows will air with only a few episodes this season. After all of their episodes aired this season, shows such as Chuck, Heroes, and Pushing Daisies won't be back until next season. Other shows were not so lucky. NBC cancelled both Bionic Woman and Journeyman. The rumour is that CBS has cancelled Cane.

Eventually, the Writers Strike's impact would go further than the broadcast networks. Because of the strike, there was no Golden Globes Awards ceremony this year. Similarly, the People's Choice Awards also had to take a different route as to their awards show as well. There was some fear that if the strike continues there might not be an Oscars ceremony this year. Perhaps the greatest measure of the effect of the strike is not in the TV shows or awards shows it sidelined, but in the sheer bottom line of it all. It is estimated that the strike has cost the the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers around one billion dollars.

Of course, the whole reason for the strike was a more fair distribution of money for the writers from DVDs, VHS tapes, and residuals from the Internet. That brings us to the deal currently on the table before the WGA members. Basically, this deal will guarantee that residuals for films and TV series sold online and gives the Guild jurisdiction over content specifically for the Internet, provided it exceeds certain budgets. It also gave writers a 3.5% raise in the minimum pay rates for work on TV and movie scripts.

Basically, the deal on the table will guarantee that residuals for films and TV series sold online and gives the Guild power over content created specifically for the Internet, provided it exceeds certain budget limits. The writers will also receive a 3.5% raise in the minimum pay rates for work on television and movie scripts. I must admit that so far the deal sounds good to me, although I do have one caveat with it. amely, the studios will be able to stream content for 17 to 24 days without paying the writers one red cent. Quite frankly, I think the studios should pay the writers the moment that they start streaming content.

That having been said, over all I think the writers have gotten a fairly good deal. And admittedly, had the strike continued longer, it could have had more far reaching, more severe effects than simply stopping the Academy Awards ceremony. Quite simply, it could have not only put a total stop to this TV season, but could have postponed the next one as well. And while this would seriously hurt the producers, it would also hurt the writers as well. After all, if no product is being produced, it means that there is also no money to made, not simply for the producers, but for everyone else invovled as well. While I do have that one misgiving about the deal currently on the table before WGA members, I can fully understand why they may well bring the strike to an end.


Anonymous said...

Glad the writers got a deal. The grammys were great, I am hoping you are going to write about them! and I can't wait to see the Oscars.

dennis said...

Dennis loves Amy Winehouse Dennis loved the grammy show!

d. chedwick bryant said...

I'm so glad to know I will be able to watch the oscars.
The cheddys are coming up to--and you are a nominee!

Mercurie said...

I'm glad I'll be able to watch the Oscars too. And thanks, Ched!