Friday, November 02, 2007

Back to the picket line

Looks like it'll probably happen. Not being a guild member I don't know the particulars, but I can tell you that residuals for writers are paltry at best, and with various new forms of media distribution booming in popularity, they're going to continue to get screwed unless something decisive is done. I'm not in favor of putting all my friends in LA out of work, but at the same time, I can understand the writers' desire to be compensated at an equal level with other above-the-line talent, and to be viewed as something other than an evil necessity.
The strike would pit union writers, whose position has been eroded by reality television and galloping technological change, against studios and networks that are backed by big corporate owners like General Electric and News Corp., but are also unsure of the future.

The walk-out threatens an instant jolt to television talk shows like “Late Night With David Letterman” and “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” which rely on guild writers to churn out monologues and skits. And if the strike drags on, audiences could see the eventual shutdown of soap operas, TV series and movie productions, as they exhaust their bank of ready scripts.

In the near term, a writers' strike will have an immediate impact on more than 200,000 workers in the movie and TV industry here and the thousands more who produce or sell entertainment elsewhere in the United States and abroad. The dispute may also signal more labor trouble to come, as directors and actors face similar issues when their contracts expire next June.

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