Friday, November 9, 2007

A Cure for Reality and Reruns

This morning, on Good Morning America, the anchors were talking about what's going to happen to your TV when shows run out of scripts in a few short weeks. In case you've missed it, the Writers' Guild of America (WGA), the script-writing union for TV and film, is on strike. The major sticking point in negotiations concerns residuals (payments writers and actors receive each time an episode is shown) for DVD and internet streaming, with the writers saying they are entitled to a bigger percentage from these lucrative markets, and the producers saying that the current arrangement is sufficient.

The strike, now in its 5th day, has brought daily picket lines to the major studios. As I write this, thousands of picketers are converging on Fox's California studios for a massive rally. My older son, Barry, who is on the set crew for "House, M.D." is in for an exciting day, I guess. He'll also be off the job as of November 26. He says the strike is likely to continue until January, when just about every popular show will be out of scripts. Already, some shows have ceased production.

So, what does this mean for you? It means R & R: rereuns and reality shows. Maybe it also means a shift to other forms of entertainment. That's where the library comes in. Within our walls, we have the work of thousands of writers, and they're not on strike. We also have movies and TV shows on VHS and DVD (those media the WGA wants a bigger piece of) as well as music CDs, magazines, books on tape and CD, and library programs for all ages. All you need is a library card--no monthly cable or satellite fee, no costly admission tickets, just a simple piece of plastic with your name on it.

So, yes, let's hope the contract is settled quickly, but while we're waiting, get out your library card and come on down.

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