Friday, November 9, 2007

The Writers Guild Strike – are you with them, or against them?

The Writers Guild of American went on strike the other day, and in some cases, the effects were felt immediately.

Late night talk shows like Letterman and Leno went into reruns. Many people may not be aware that people like Leno and Letterman are so dependent on the Writers Guild members for their material that they can't do a decent show without them. (And you thought those guys really had the talent.) Associated Press has reported that Fox’s “24” will be postponed. Other shows are affected, for example, “Lost” will not be lost, but “Late”. Many celebrities are supporting the strikers, partly because they are part of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and partly because they feel the writers’ pain.

At issue are residuals, especially for content that is aired over the internet. As networks continue to drive content to the internet in order to drive up ad revenues and drive excitement for their shows, people like the writers are overlooked in getting their piece of an increasing larger profit pie.

The fact that so many shows are going into reruns, or being postponed, speaks to the importance of the writers. It’s too bad that, in this day and age, we still need unions and strikes to drive the point home. But, as long as corporations continue to make big profits and refuse to share with the people who often do the heavy lifting, then unions will continue to thrive. The Writers, however, also need to be mindful of the various entertainment options open to people, and that they don’t drive their customers (the viewer) away from TV and to personal internet content or more technologically advanced video gaming like Xbox 360 and Wii.

Let’s hope everyone comes to their senses soon and reach an agreement that’s fair to all.

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