With thoughts on the Writer's strike, we've got a guest post from Dave "Hollywood" Beasing:
Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly was even quoted as saying, "Maybe the strike is giving us an excuse to shake it up." For example, he cites the high cost of producing pilots -- a fraction of which ever get the green light. With negotiations at a standstill, maybe this is simply executives' way of talking tough in the local paper.
After all, the exodus of Howard Stern to satellite radio didn't exactly usher in a new period of morning show experimentation and innovation. On the contrary, personality radio has probably gone backwards since Stern left the broadcast airwaves.
Things have changed since the writers last went on strike in 1988. Back then, the Big 3 networks commanded 80% of television viewing. Now, six networks compete with more than 100 cable channels, and - overall - the second tier content has never been better. If you factor in DVDs, videogames, cell phones, iPods and the Internet, it's clear that some of the young people in the Arbitron/Jacobs "Bedroom Project" will barely notice a TV writers strike.
Rather than add up the savings, should the networks be looking to spend that money on programming that doesn't require writers? Ask anyone in radio: increased competition requires more investment, not less.
Is there really an upside to this strike? Maybe, if you mean rethinking the business model for 2008 and beyond. That's always healthy. But we tend to agree with Writers Guild negotiator Carl Gottlieb when he says, "No one wins a war."