Top 7 reasons to root for a writers strike
I didn’t think I’d be writing this, but I think I’m actually looking forward to Hollywood having a writer’s strike.
Why? What sort of un-American bastard would be hoping for the shutdown of production across TV shows and movies across this great land of ours? My god, man, you might force the audience to think or something! Sorry, no. I can think of seven good reasons.
1. The writers deserve to be compensated. First and foremost, this is the biggie. As Mark Evanier points out, "the same studio execs who say there’s no more money are elsewhere bragging about record profits and taking home seven, eight and even nine figure annual salaries." Some studio heads are saying that they need to cut upfront costs. My reply is that it’s the studios’ own damn fault, because nobody trusts them to ever pay out any money on the back end. If you could be trusted, you wouldn’t have to shell out all the money in advance. If you were fair in sharing the revenue from home video and DVD sales in the first place, you wouldn’t be in this fix now.
2. This TV season has been weak. Shows like Viva Laughlin? Kid Nation? Journeyman is disappointing me, Pushing Daisies is getting annoying (with the exception of Kristen Chenoweth) and so is the sidekick on Reaper. Most of my regular TV watching has been Jon Stewart, Dr. Stephen Colbert and Keith Olbermann.
3. I’m still too busy to watch and need the catch up time. My lord, there’s a lot I haven’t seen out there. Why, I still haven’t gotten around to most of the summer movies; or a lot of last year’s crop. And TV? My DVR is overflowing with shows I still need to finish watching, like the last episodes of Studio 60, that Masters Of Science Fiction series from the summer, Hustle— my secret shame: I still haven’t seen the season finale of Doctor Who. The finale of season two. Let alone anything since. (Don’t tell me about Captain Jack.)
4. Writers can finally finish off their side projects and actually produce comic books. Yes, I’m looking at you, Damon "Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk" Lindelof and Kevin "Daredevil/Bullseye: The Target" Smith. Yes, there are other folks I can name. Yes, I’ve been seduced by the editorial side of the force and now reflexively get cranky when people blow deadlines, which will surely come back to haunt me the next time I blow one.
5. Related, when the strike ends and the writers get busy again, the big comic companies will get shafted again by writers who pull out and go back to La-la land. Unless they’ve wised up. Hah.
6. It will further erode the audience for tv and movies. This thrills me no end– of course, I’m in the web content business. My major competition for viewer attention is ceding the field of battle to me? You forfeit? Coolness! I can go after your advertisers as well? Bonus!
Ratings for live viewing of prime-time shows are off at all five English-language broadcast networks, dipping an average of 11% among total viewers compared with last year. Viewership at movie theaters is down too, although profits are up, thanks to higher ticket prices soaking the folks who are left. People are leaving in droves to this Internet thing and they don’t seem to be returning. And in the midst of all of this, the industry has the potential to shut down for weeks, if not months– and the viewers may never come back. The only TV networks that will be unaffected are news and sports programming, and my wife works for ESPN, so I’m covered.
7. Occasionally, it will force solutions like this from a previous writers’ strike:
How can you not love that?