A silent protest has already been leveled in the form of those below-2.0 ratings among 18-49 viewers -- first with the "People's Choice Awards" and its 1.6 number; then with the Golden Globes and its barely visible 1.7 number. Both shows were down dramatically from their numbers of a year ago.
Why isn't there a write-in campaign, like what those crazy fans did with CBS' "Jericho"? Perhaps there is no urgency, coupled with the belief that the WGA and the producers will come to their senses.
Right now it's a supply-and-demand situation. TV consumers know there are a plethora of ways to get their visual additive fill of TV and film stars. With more Internet, magazine, and traditional TV options available, consumers don't feel they are being starved for entertainment performer product.
The more negative among us say good riddance to the self-involved, self-infatuated award shows. DVDs, reruns, and Internet TV should be quite enough for our entertainment compulsion. But the entertainment world is run by big media companies looking to get bigger. A decade or two ago, there were about half the award shows available than there are now. Were we suffering back then?
The Grammy Awards are next. But no need to worry, since the writers' union says it won't picket.
If the Oscars go away, it's almost certain that ABC will need to give back media dollars to advertisers, some $102 million worth. There is little chance ABC can make good with inventory in other high-premium-CPM TV shows, even with the likes of "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy." There aren't any new episodes for advertisers to run in.
But if the WGA somehow gets its ultimate swipe at the networks and the studios by causing the cancellation or downgrading of the Oscars, it'll be interesting to see consumer reaction.
Will they still be on the side of the writers, for better wages for working persons? Or will viewers' need for guilty pleasures get the best of them? Will they start whining about missing Johnny Depp, George Clooney, and Cate Blanchett in fine attire?