I talked briefly about the WGA/SAG-AFTRA strikes in one of the recent newsletters, but some new information has come up and I want to chat about it here. Am I qualified to really dive into this? Of course not. But let's go anyway!
I saw yesterday that several daytime talk shows will be returning to the airwaves soon - without union writers. The Drew Barrymore Show, The Talk, and The Jennifer Hudson Show are three that are scheduled to return September 18.
Now I have read that these shows may operate under a different contract, and they can continue to air. And I understand their eagerness to get back to work. But working during a dual strike like this creates a number of problems.
A big point of leverage for the actors and writers against the studios is that there will be no shows to air without them. Networks won't have new episodes. Streaming services will run out of new material. The people who actually make the money from TV and movies need those who routinely get shafted in order to keep making that money. Shows, union or not, returning to TV weakens this very important argument. It tells the studios that they don't need to pay all of the people who are on strike. And that is bad for everyone.
And part of the strike is that actors and whatnot (whonot?) are unable to promote their work. So what would be the point of appearing on a talk show? Generally, an appearance on a show is used to promote an upcoming movie or show. They aren't allowed to promote what, if anything, they have done recently. So how many times can they really say "man, it'd be great to get back to work" in 15 minutes? Sure, the network will have a show to put on TV. But without the famous people hyping stuff, it likely won't put butts in seats, as they say in wrestling.
I did see today that staffers at Drew Barrymore's show are also kicking out any fans who are wearing WGA pins. So not only are they insulting the writers on strike by returning without them (essentially saying "we don't need you"), they are bringing that vitriol to fans. At a time when you need all of the help you can get to put on a show, that is not a good look. People are crossing picket lines to attend your taping. Why would you have them removed because of a pin? They don't have to be there, but you need them in the building to make your show look good. It doesn't make any sense. And isn't Drew Barrymore's entire persona being a likeable person? This isn't that. (I've never been a fan, so I feel a tiny bit of validation here.)
Speaking of crossing the picket lines: don't do that. I am nowhere near being in either union, but they need our support here. If you are willing to cross the line for a dumb talk show, you are letting the studios know that you don't care how bad the shows can be. Maybe you're too young to remember when scab writers took over shows in 2007. Maybe your dad works for Sony. Maybe you're just a weirdo who thinks rich people deserve more money and that there shouldn't be a middle class. Whatever the case, you should support the unions.
Every show you love has writers who deserve to be paid for their work. Every actor on those shows deserves to be paid for their work. I do not understand why this is a difficult concept in 2023, but here we are. Support the writers. Support the actors. Let the studios know they're being a bunch of greedy...you get it. Don't cross picket lines!
So there we are. I miss TV shows too, but this isn't the way to get them back. We learned that lesson years ago. Something something ignoring history. Just pay the people what they're worth and let's all make money, shall we?
That, as we say, is that. I'll be recording the show today (I hope) so patrons get it by Thursday. Sign up for the Patreon here and get bonuses when I have time to make them. Until we meet again, don't do anything I wouldn't do!
Crap open a cold one!