Late-night TV shows want to get back to work because 80% of their shows have nothing to do with union writers.
Should that matter?
Reality-TV producers have a better argument: 100% of their shows have no use for union writers. And that's why the networks, in the next several months, will be using them like premoistened wipes at a preschool.
Those late-night producers support their writers -- but they really want to get back to work
. No doubt some of these nonwriting staffers believe writers deserve better treatment.
But now they'll be affected. California Governor Schwarzenegger
is trying to get involved because those middle-wage grips
, scenic designers, electricians and, of course, those middle-wage, no-producer-point, fee-only writers are also voters.
How far does this extend? Maybe your friendly TV advertiser should back the writers. Didn't advertisers benefit from high-rated, well-written TV shows such as "Grey's Anatomy" or "CSI" or "House," where their commercials sold a lot of products and services?
TV and film award shows are also in jeopardy, as many use union writers. But viewers aren't looking for compelling award show writing. Rather, viewers want to see their favorite, glamorous talent flub cheesy nominee introductions or poorly conceived acceptance show speeches.
So don't expect award show producers to be crying over the strike. However, expect those hyphenates -- those mostly TV drama producer-writers --- to continue their picket line chanting and marching.
Now Italian TV writers
are shaking the chains. They too want more money -- also because of low or no digital rights residuals. They say their work conditions and pay are far worse than that of U.S.-based writers. They could go on strike as well.
Perhaps TV business writers should stop writing about TV shows -- which could also pinch the big, bad media companies.
Tell me when and where it stops. Everyone deserves a decent wage, health benefits, and fairness on the job. But in America, you can choose how you fail. You get to write your own drama -- though not everyone may be interested in how it ends.