Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, speaks at the WGA East Awards about the end of the strike:
I’m told the agreement was met with some controversy, but I believe that the overwhelming majority of the guild is relieved to stop striking and getting back to being out of work… We had to get an agreement today. We had to. There was too much public outcry. At the end of the day, we had to end the strike to get all the ugly writers off of YouTube.
I’m still trying to get my head around that. Is a TV network still a network if the TV network does not make TV shows?
How did this go down in the boardroom? “Man, we are in the crapper. We’re losing to Fox, we haven’t had a hit since Friends, and the guys at GE keep making noises about selling our bandwidth for cell phone channels. What do we do? Brainstorming time, people. What have you got for me?”
“Uh, why don’t we just re-run Seinfeld episodes? Those did pretty well.”
“TBS has those locked up for the next 30 years. Next.”
“‘The Best of ‘YouTube,’ hosted by Dick Clark and Ed McMahon.”
“I know you’re just going to say no again, but… live executions.”
“I know you’re just going to say no again, but… porn.”
“Ne — …Maybe. Run it by legal. Next.”
“I’ve got it! I’ve got it! We’ll… stop producing pilot episodes!”
“It’s so crazy, it just might work.”
However, in what has to be the understatement of the day, the Zap2It article notes: “Just how NBC will pick new shows is unclear.”
I know this might sound like a stupid question, but I keep wondering why the people running the major media outlets seem to hate their products so much. The publisher of the L.A. Times decides that covering the news is too expensive and too old-fashioned. The publishers of the OC Register, after squandering millions on a Cliffs’ Notes version of the paper, decide to cut costs by eliminating the business section. And the movie and TV studios, after walking away from the negotiating table in the writers’ strike, seem shocked to discover that without movies and TV, they don’t have much to offer.
It reminds me of this line from The Player:
Griffin Mill: I was just thinking what an interesting concept it is to eliminate the writer from the artistic process. If we could just get rid of these actors and directors, maybe we’ve got something here.
Seriously: if you believe TV or movies or newspapers are a waste of time and money when they do exactly what they’re designed to do, then maybe — just maybe — you shouldn’t be the guy in charge of them.
The Studios and the Writers have agreed to return to the table. I don’t want to say the troops will be home by Christmas, but this is a good sign for all the script monkeys out there.