Shouting Writers: Good TV Drama At Awards Shows?

Feel like nominating the TV advertising market these days? Sure. Just don't give it any big awards yet.

NBC will broadcast the "Golden Globes" awards on Jan. 13. CBS' "Grammy Awards" and ABC' "Academy Awards" will follow in the weeks to come. Will TV writers interfere?

Networks can strategically place cameras anywhere they want on the red carpet. If you are a big network TV executive, do you want images of somber-looking big-name actors walking the red carpet? Virtually all actors side with the TV writers' plight -- but how far should those performers go? Actors have their own "brands" to consider - they want to sustain their long-term value.

The Writer Guild of America has pledged to picket the Golden Globes, with perhaps more picketing to come. Of course, that also means no writers typing out funny bits for those nomination teleprompter reads. Somehow the networks don't seem concerned that the program's quality will be affected.

Neither, it seems, are TV advertisers. Fresh network programming will be in short supply starting in January, February, and March. Even awards shows perceived as weak would get viewers' and advertisers' attention -- perhaps even higher advertising rates.

Right now, the current scatter market is seeing rocketing price increases of 50% to 75% above prices secured in the upfront. "That's if networks had any spots to sell," chimes in one veteran media agency executive.

To the question of whether networks should show screaming TV writers in the background of actors walking the red carpet, I'd say: Network executives probably should encourage it. A little drama -- onscreen -- hurts no one. Writers may even get a little sympathy.

Perhaps the networks should do a little marketing -- just to show how balanced they are in their respective news awards coverage



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