Thursday, December 27, 2007

As an aspiring/established/struggling writer, it is with great fascination that I watch this writer's strike. The television executives feel like the writers are overplaying their hand a bit by asking for more money and a more compensation. The writers feel like they definitely deserve more money, especially given the recent boom in DVD, animation, reality shows and most importantly the work of theirs that is distributed over the Internet. This is an interesting standoff, because I am quite sure the networks feel like they can survive longer with reruns and non-written reality shows, and the writers feel like that during the holidays this is fine, but eventually the viewing public will get restless. Me? I'm a sports fan, and none of the major sports are going to be striking any time soon, so I'll be fine, but still, I feel for the writers. So why do I mention all this?

Starting the first week of January, talk show hosts, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel will all go back on the air. It is my understanding that they cannot use writers, so they will have to basically do impromptu shows similar to the way Regis and Kelly do every morning, except none of the late night shows have the benefit of playing off a co-host. This is quite an interesting standoff to me, because in the case of David Letterman, he actually paid the salaries of some of the striking writers in an effort to show solidarity; as a result, the writers cannot get TOO mad that he and others are going back to work. After all, aside from the writers, there are other workers on the set of these shows(camera people, makeup artists, lighting specialists) who have NOT been getting paid, and they are caught in the middle of this mess. And I am quite sure Letterman, Leno and the gang want their shows to be funny enough to get folks to watch, but not funny enough to alienate the writers. I plan on watching these shows next week, just to see who is REALLY funny, and who has been riding on the coattails of the writers all these years.

By the way, I traded emails with the only writer in Hollywood I know, Ms. Angela Nissel, and she said that the writers aren't at all worried about Letterman and company "selling out" so to speak. She said all one needs to do, is to dig up shows from 1988, when there was a strike, and Letterman did a show solo. I never saw those shows, but apparently they were hot garbage.

I know this entire entry feels like an inside joke that you may not get, but this situation is quite fascinating to me. I have yet to have the "luxury" of being part of a union, so I don't know what it is to strike for a worthy cause. I also haven' been a position of real power, so I don't know what its like to fuck over striking workers either. So I am vicariously living through both sides, but quietly rooting for the writers. .

Chaka Khan - One For All Time
I've had Chaka's new cd on my ipod for almost 2 months now, and I just heard this song for the first time this morning. Now I can't get it out of my head.

2 comments:

Janelle said...

All of the late night hosts are paying the salaries of their employees during the strike with Jay Leno being the last to announce he is doing so. This is on top of the Christmas bonuses handed out earlier this month.

Also, I guess they learned something from the hot garbage of 1988 (never saw the crap either..too young to stay up that late..hahahaha). The formats of the shows will change slightly with more celebrity interviews and performances and significantly less monologue or no monologue at all.

As a struggling/aspiring/soon-to-be established writer/author and former union member, I am very interested to see how all of this pans out.

lex said...

*moves foot to avoid the dropped name*

but yeah, what is Miss Nissel doing these days? I heard she was writing for some show...scrubs was it? She's pretty awesome. I got her to sign my copy of broke diaries when it came out, she said i looked familiar, and that made me feel cool. i assumed we would be best friends after that but...no. Ah...to be that young and that naive again...