Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Parking Wars - Writer's Strike!

I know that it's hard to imagine, but television is actually getting worse--thanks, in part, to the Writer's Strike. If you didn't know, the Writer's Guild of America is the trade union made up of the people that write movies, television shows, plays, etc. They've been on strike since the end of October 2007.

The bottom line of the strike (from what I've been able to gather) is that the studios and television stations are making money on online content that gives no royalties to the writers. For example, let's say you write for the television show The Office. You make an agreed upon royalty every time that program is broadcast on the air--whether it be a first run event or a syndicated event, depending on the terms of your contract. However, if that same show is presented on the Internet via sites like iTunes where users pay a fee to download the show to their computer or other device, the writer makes nothing...nada...zero...zilch...bubkiss. Even if the show is played (or "streamed") for free on the television station's web site where advertising is sold, the writer still gets nothing.

By now, you've probably figured out that I'm a bit sympathetic to the writers. This explains why certain shows are not currently airing new episodes (like The Office!!!!). The Late Show With David Letterman struck up a special deal with their writers to get back on the air about a month ago. However, other shows have come back on sans writers. Just watch an episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien to see what I mean. One night he spent five minutes making his ring spin on his desk to see how long he could keep it going--quality television.

So, that brings me to the REAL reason for this post. Yesterday, Miss Sniz and I saw a half-hour program called Parking Wars. It's a real-life look at the jobs and lives of the Philadelphia Parking Authority. What? Can't contain yourselves? Can't wait to catch an episode on A&E? Well, the waiting is over, you can watch FULL EPISODES right now on your computer. Just CLICK HERE to be taken to A&E's Video page. Click on the gray "REAL LIFE" tab on the left side of the screen and start watching.

As is the case with other shows that are broadcast online there are no royalities paid to writers when you watch Parking Wars on the Internet. But that's because shows like this don't require writers. When crap like this starts hitting the tube, it tells me that the studios and television stations must be feeling the pinch put on by the writers. Imagine, spending an entire half-hour watching a meter maid handing out tickets. Or, why experience your own real-life adventure picking up your car that's been impounded when you can watch somebody else go through it on the tv? That's entertainment!

If you thought reality TV was bad enough already, just wait. It's going to get much, much worse.

8 comments:

Wani said...

I support the writers. I don't think that their demands are unreasonable. I read that under the current contracts that the networks don't have to pay the writers for anything that is considered a "promotion" and they can literally deem anything a promotion! Even the webisodes of The Office that were made especially for internet viewing have been labeled "promotional" and the writers and actors who helped create those webisodes were not compensated for them. How is that fair?

Sniz said...

I loved the Parking Wars show! It reminded me of Star Wars. Oh wait.

Uvulapie said...

Never heard of "Parking Wars" before but I have fond memories of "Junkyward Wars" and "Battlebots" which was based on the British show "Robot Wars". Our writers sure do "borrow" heavily from British shows. There's The Office, Supernanny, Antique Roadshow, Trading Spaces, American Idol, Welcome Back Kotter, Three's A Crowd, All In The Family, Wife Swap, and Queer as Folk (thanks wikipedia!)

Shows that are 100% American: BJ and the Bear, Land of the Lost, Gilligans Island, Teletubbies, The Greatest American Hero, Knightrider, Hogan's Heroes, Gilligan's Island (syndicated), Good Eats, and You Just Stepped In Something.

scott said...

I spend most of my time watching "Bowling for Burgers" on U-62.

Thomas Kingsley Troupe said...

It's times like there that make me happy that I'm about a year behind on my TV-watchin'.

I support the writers, too. Those corporate windbags will soon learn not to mess with the FOUNDATION of these shows. Without writers...they're nothing!

eally said...

I very rarely watch tv - when I do, it's Nick at Night anyway so this strike hasn't affected me. LOL Parking Wars show - whatever will they think of next??

Leeann said...

I'm sick of the strike. My DVR is overpaid and underworked now. There isn't anything on TV!

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