The Writers For The Daily Show Just Can’t Help It

14 11 2007

Okay, I laughed.

This is fun. Well, not fun for those striking for the Writers Guild on the picket lines, but this guerilla stuff is a hoot.

From the writers of The Daily Show, I give you a moment of Zen from the picket line.

It’s always good to have a sense of humor.

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Writers Guild Of America Strike Could Happen This Week

1 11 2007

Well, it appears for those of us who dig television that the writer’s strike most likely is going to happen. There could be a hail mary pass thrown, but it’s looking pretty doubtful.

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Of course, I watch a lot of BBC, so I’m in better shape, I think, than some. Let’s take a look, shall we, of how television addicts will be dealing with their, umm, well, addiction. Pop Matters breaks it down better than anyone and says we may even be seeing the UK versions of shows like “The Office” on NBC if the strike goes on for any length of time.

Variety, by way of Alan Sepinwall, gives a pretty good breakdown of what will be impacted first. It looks like Stephen Colbert just might have plenty of time to make his way to the presidency.

While the networks have been repeating the mantra that “screens will not go black,” it won’t take long for TV viewers to see the impact of a Writers Guild of America strike.

The canaries in TV’s creative coal mine are latenight hosts such as David Letterman and Jay Leno, whose monologues and sketches are dependent on union writers. If history is any guide, both shows will almost instantly go dark, as would “Saturday Night Live.” Comedy Central‘s latenight stalwarts “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” would also likely switch to repeats in the immediate aftermath of a strike.

“Boom — our show just shuts down,” said “SNL” vet Amy Poehler. “It’s just done. There is no backlog of scripts.” (For more on latenight and the strike, click here.)

The new shoes, like Pushing Daisies that I kinda dig, will be hit the hardest. And we are looking at lots and lots of reality television, as if there weren’t enough already. For Lost-o-philes, the producers say they will air what they’ve got.

The thing is, if you look at some of the grumbling behind the thing, is that no one wants a strike, but the question is does it financially benefit the producers to a degree. Here’s the gotcha phrase from the Variety article:

From a financial standpoint, network execs are at least in a better position than their studio counterparts. The nets may see their ratings and revenue go south as they replace scripted fare with repeats and reality shows, but their costs will decline, too. Sliding in a reality show that costs $900,000 per episode in place of a $3 million-per-seg drama will help soothe the sting of a strike.

So, for those of us who watch some reality television, we will see what happens. The Writer’s Guild contract ran out at midnight.

It might be a long winter, campers, if you dig TV.

More links, if you are so inclined:





National Strikes, Local Ramifications-UPDATED

26 09 2007

UPDATE: UAW/GM REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT.  This came out after I wrote my post, but I’ll leave it up anyway.

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With the UAW on strike, I’m reminded of Goodyear being on strike last fall which I covered as a reporter.

Our local economy, despite what people might say, took a hit. And, it was divisive in regards to people’s personal philosophies. That issue came down to health care for retirees in Goodyear’s situation as much as anything.

Here’s what the New York Times is saying about the UAW strike:

The stalemate apparently arose over the union’s demand for job protection for its work force at G.M., which is one-fifth its size in 1990. G.M., in return, had pushed for the creation of a trust that would assume responsibility for its $55 billion liability for health care benefits for workers, retirees and their families.

So, we have another strike and the impact, if this should go on, could impact thousands of businesses.

This strike is of great significance. Strikes usually are. People get into mindsets and forget certain things. For whatever reason, unions tend to be a black or white issue. There is no gray in some people’s opinions on this.

Let’s not forget strikes impact families. Not just one person, but entire families. The lack of regular income impacts businesses. Last year, the financial blast to the head in Union City impacted small business first and restaurants took a beating. In some respects, they are still in recovery mode on this one.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Large suppliers including Delphi Corp., Lear Corp. and Tenneco Inc. temporarily laid off workers. The strike was expected to further strain companies, moving down the supply chain, in an industry where a quarter of auto suppliers already are in financial distress.

The trickle-down effect in less than two days. And Canadian industry might be laying off roughly 100,00 workers by week’s end.

Now, I know some of you are going to say UNIONS aren’t needed anymore. I disagree.

Don Jones is a Martin man who worked for Goodyear for two decades. He was interviewed by Newsweek last week. He also has a blog. That’s where the reporters from Newsweek found him and decided to interview him.

From Newsweek:

When Don Jones went to work on the tire line at Goodyear in 1970, he says the company promised him free health-care coverage for life. Those generous medical benefits came in handy when Jones suffered a series of heart attacks that led to a transplant after he retired in 1993. But as health-care costs soared, the company began charging him for coverage. He now pays about $215 a month in premiums and prescription co-pays, more than half his monthly pension of $385. Last year, though, Jones’s union, the United Steelworkers, agreed to take over running the retiree medical plan from Goodyear. “I actually believe my benefits will get better” when the deal is completed in the next few months, says Jones, 68. Goodyear should be optimistic, too. By funding a special health-care trust run by the union, it gets out from under an estimated $1.2 billion in future retiree medical obligations.

Read the rest of the story. Workers in large manufacturing environments are in transition. Don talks about what’s it’s like to be a retiree on his blog. Newsweek found Don through his blog.

But here’s the rub, the Goodyear workers I’ve spoken too are very worried, as usual, that Goodyear will be relocated off-shore. Goodyear reps deny this will happen but then again, it’s always a possibility. Of course everyone says they won’t, but then again, they might because anything is possible.

One of my friends said this last night: “There are no blue collar workers anymore. The middle-class is diminishing. No one seems to notice and no one seems to care.”

Goodyear has gone to 24/7 operations.

Now, The UAW and GM have been in marathon negotiations to end this quickly. And I hope they do. I hope they come to a managable and reasonable compromise.

Because, I’ve seen what a strike that lasts three months can do to a small community.

And, campers, it’s not good.