Hollywood Writers Strike is a Golden Opportunity

When I first heard the Hollywood writers were going on strike, my first thought was a  prayer:  Please God, let it be true. 

The roughly 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America are loudly picketing across America in their attempt to go for America's entertainment jugular.  The last writers' strike in 1988 lasted 22 weeks, and the network ratings have never recovered.  Many viewers just switched to cable channels and never went back.  Boo hoo.

For American culture the current strike could be a golden opportunity to reclaim artistic standards and entertainment morality that we haven't had since, well, since 1988.  That time around was a lost opportunity if ever there were one.  So this time around, in theory, the producers could pull a Reagan and fire the lot of them. The other craft unions might go on strike, but that would just drive even more production into nonunion climes or out of the country.

The Writers Guild hold on the market is declining rapidly, anyway, since the last strike. According to the president of the western guild, Patrick Vennone,
"...perhaps 95 percent of Hollywood's work was done by guild writers in the 1980s. More recently, he has said, the figure dropped to about 55 percent, as companies like Viacom Inc. used non-guild writers to work on increasingly popular animated, reality and other shows for its MTV, Comedy Central or VH-1 television units."
Television writers start out with a base salary of $70,000/season and veteran writers on hour-long shows, make six figures, with a "written-by" credit and a $30,000 bonus per season, plus residuals for re-runs.  I'm pretty sure there are a few other perks and benefits in the mix.  And I'm willing to bet my own laptop that there are way more than 12,000 American writers who would just love to compete for the privilege of completely renovating the television empire, even without the extra internet dollars the current writers are demanding. 

It doesn't take a gifted writer to create scripted gore, sleaze and adolescent immorality.  Any teenager can do that for a whole lot less money and probably with a little more class.

Since there are literally legions of freelance writers around the country, and more graduating every day from creative writing programs, there is no dearth of American talent or skill.  The producers just need to get together, decide what they want to offer and put on an Apprentice type contest.  Broadcast it nationally, have new writers auditioning with the viewing public the same way that singers do it on that American Idol show.   Each writer could do up a short play or comedian's monologue, and the best 12,000 contestants win new jobs in lovely California.

Writers hone your resumes and start your script-churning engines.    

Perhaps the new writers will even turn out a product we could all feel safe letting our children watch.  Who knows, they might even be able to write scripts that make us feel good about our Country again and inspire us to become even better.  A decent moral imbedded in a drama script would be a welcome addition too. 

If we get really lucky here, more and more actors will follow their writers out and we could replace them as well.  The way I'm seeing it, with all the anti-war movies bombing at the box office, and the majority of us wanting good, clean PG flicks, the old actors aren't looking so hot anymore.  Let them retire on their laurels along with their writers.  Maybe they can form a commune, pool the money they've made off of us, and sit around the rest of their lives telling each other how smart and beautiful they are.   

For talk shows, the producers might start looking around for people who are smart enough to think of things to say without writers.  The way Rush Limbaugh and the other conservative talkers do it. (Not like Al Franken's former show on Air America, which employed several writers.)

I might actually be tempted myself to tune into a program with real people who are brave enough to speak for themselves.  You know, genuine conversation, that long-forgotten art form that our ancestors enjoyed so much and found so informative, the kind one gets from talk radio.  Of course, that new qualification would exclude those women on The View, and Rosie O'Donnell would never be seen or heard from again.    No more need for barf bags while watching TV talk shows. Think of the saved trees.

So don't let the writers strike make you blue.  And in the meantime, while they are getting together the Survivor-style writers reality shows for us to vote on, they can treat us to reruns of The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Columbo, and Johnny Carson.  No sleaze.  No gore.  No adolescent immorality. 

Look out world.  Clear the stage.  A new and improved American entertainment extravaganza might be forming in the wings of the writers strike.  And it couldn't come soon enough for me.

Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.
When I first heard the Hollywood writers were going on strike, my first thought was a  prayer:  Please God, let it be true. 

The roughly 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America are loudly picketing across America in their attempt to go for America's entertainment jugular.  The last writers' strike in 1988 lasted 22 weeks, and the network ratings have never recovered.  Many viewers just switched to cable channels and never went back.  Boo hoo.

For American culture the current strike could be a golden opportunity to reclaim artistic standards and entertainment morality that we haven't had since, well, since 1988.  That time around was a lost opportunity if ever there were one.  So this time around, in theory, the producers could pull a Reagan and fire the lot of them. The other craft unions might go on strike, but that would just drive even more production into nonunion climes or out of the country.

The Writers Guild hold on the market is declining rapidly, anyway, since the last strike. According to the president of the western guild, Patrick Vennone,
"...perhaps 95 percent of Hollywood's work was done by guild writers in the 1980s. More recently, he has said, the figure dropped to about 55 percent, as companies like Viacom Inc. used non-guild writers to work on increasingly popular animated, reality and other shows for its MTV, Comedy Central or VH-1 television units."
Television writers start out with a base salary of $70,000/season and veteran writers on hour-long shows, make six figures, with a "written-by" credit and a $30,000 bonus per season, plus residuals for re-runs.  I'm pretty sure there are a few other perks and benefits in the mix.  And I'm willing to bet my own laptop that there are way more than 12,000 American writers who would just love to compete for the privilege of completely renovating the television empire, even without the extra internet dollars the current writers are demanding. 

It doesn't take a gifted writer to create scripted gore, sleaze and adolescent immorality.  Any teenager can do that for a whole lot less money and probably with a little more class.

Since there are literally legions of freelance writers around the country, and more graduating every day from creative writing programs, there is no dearth of American talent or skill.  The producers just need to get together, decide what they want to offer and put on an Apprentice type contest.  Broadcast it nationally, have new writers auditioning with the viewing public the same way that singers do it on that American Idol show.   Each writer could do up a short play or comedian's monologue, and the best 12,000 contestants win new jobs in lovely California.

Writers hone your resumes and start your script-churning engines.    

Perhaps the new writers will even turn out a product we could all feel safe letting our children watch.  Who knows, they might even be able to write scripts that make us feel good about our Country again and inspire us to become even better.  A decent moral imbedded in a drama script would be a welcome addition too. 

If we get really lucky here, more and more actors will follow their writers out and we could replace them as well.  The way I'm seeing it, with all the anti-war movies bombing at the box office, and the majority of us wanting good, clean PG flicks, the old actors aren't looking so hot anymore.  Let them retire on their laurels along with their writers.  Maybe they can form a commune, pool the money they've made off of us, and sit around the rest of their lives telling each other how smart and beautiful they are.   

For talk shows, the producers might start looking around for people who are smart enough to think of things to say without writers.  The way Rush Limbaugh and the other conservative talkers do it. (Not like Al Franken's former show on Air America, which employed several writers.)

I might actually be tempted myself to tune into a program with real people who are brave enough to speak for themselves.  You know, genuine conversation, that long-forgotten art form that our ancestors enjoyed so much and found so informative, the kind one gets from talk radio.  Of course, that new qualification would exclude those women on The View, and Rosie O'Donnell would never be seen or heard from again.    No more need for barf bags while watching TV talk shows. Think of the saved trees.

So don't let the writers strike make you blue.  And in the meantime, while they are getting together the Survivor-style writers reality shows for us to vote on, they can treat us to reruns of The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Columbo, and Johnny Carson.  No sleaze.  No gore.  No adolescent immorality. 

Look out world.  Clear the stage.  A new and improved American entertainment extravaganza might be forming in the wings of the writers strike.  And it couldn't come soon enough for me.

Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.