TV viewers keep it ‘real’ during writers’ strike

By on February 6, 2008

Since Nov. 5, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has had conflicting proposals with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The WGA requested that they receive more residual for reruns and compensation for “new media,” but AMPTP has not agreed to any of these terms thus far.

The strike has put a hold on new episodes and the formerly lavish Golden Globes awards show into a lackluster press conference.

“I’ve been watching more reality shows than I usually do,” sophomore finance major Dan Pressl said. “I’ve been so desperate I’ve been watching “Rock of Love.'”

And Pressl isn’t the only one: has reported that reality television has had more viewers than ever before. Nielsen ratings from the week of Jan. 20 showed that three of the top five shows were reality programs (the two others being news shows). The nation was already moving in the direction of reality television, but with the writers on strike it is possible that the final push will be made.

In addition to reality television, many people are watching shows that they wouldn’t normally watch. New shows such as “Eli Stone” and “Lipstick Jungle” are more likely to be successful, even if temporarily. Mid-season shows, such as “Lost” and “One Tree Hill,” are much more likely to draw new audiences as well as loyal fans.

“I miss vegging out in front of the TV watching the red carpet dresses on E!,” said Lisa Burns, associate professor of Media Studies. “The strike is not only ruining current television seasons, but it is also limiting the time writers have to write upcoming seasons since actors are only available for a certain amount of time.”

Prior to the strike, junior management major Jackie Titus enjoyed watching shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives.”

“I’m upset that some of my favorite shows aren’t on,” Titus said, “but I understand why they are on strike and I think that they deserve to get paid. They do all the work and they should be entitled to the benefits.”

Andrew Vazzano, a sophomore journalism major, admitted that he’s been so desperate to watch something besides reruns, he’s begun to watch children’s television shows.

“There’s a show called ‘Yo Gabba Gabba’ on Nickelodeon,” Vazzano said. “It’s been a top priority in our room.”

“Nightly News” mentioned that the strike has cost the industry $1 billion so far. Although many complain about not being able to watch new television shows, there is an understanding as to why the strike has gone so far.

Some, including Professor of Communications Raymond Foery, understand the writers’ position.

“Hollywood is a collaborative; everybody wants to have his or her recognition,” Foery said. “I am sympathetic with the writers because they often toil away in obscurity.”

With 12 weeks gone by, many are unsure of how long the strike will last.

However, over the last couple of weeks the WGA and the AMPTP have returned to the negotiating table. The good news? The Grammy Awards this Sunday have already been given the green light. All presenters and performers are expected to attend. As for the Oscars, we’ll just have to wait and see if a compromise can be reached before the show’s scheduled date: Feb. 24.


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