Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Way back machine
This is from the Snark column way back in Dark History-ok so 6 years ago!
If There Were No Writers…Would Anyone Notice?
I’m sure that by now most of you are aware that the Writers Guild of America’s contract with film and television producers expires on May 1, 2001. What you may not know is that the writers and producers began an early round of negotiations in January, only to have the talks collapse on March 1st. While both sides still say a strike isn’t inevitable, they are still $80-110 million apart. So unless there is a big breakthrough in the next six weeks, it looks like a writers strike will happen.
On various message boards many posters are so dissatisfied with the state of the writing on their soap, they hope the writers do strike. I think that a strike is the worst thing that could happen with the sorry state of daytime ratings today. Dialogue will suffer, plots will veer off into uncharted territory, and characters may be irrevocably harmed.
The 1981 writers strike lead to General Hospital hiring Thom Racina and Leah Laiman to write the show when the strike ended. GH didn't have an ending for the Ice Princess story, so they used Racina's 1977 novel "The Great Los Angeles Blizzard' for inspiration and did that stupid plot where Mikkos Cassadine tried to freeze the world. During the 1988 writers strike, which lasted 22 weeks, AMC killed off the character of Jesse Hubbard. On GL the Sonni/Solita plot became so convoluted I defy anyone to make sense of everything that happened. The only hope is that the interim writers… hell, the scab writers… don’t make too much of a mess and keep stories in a holding pattern or focus on characters that would otherwise be on the back burner,. On GL, the returning writers were able to salvage the “mystery woman” Blake by making her Roger’s daughter Christina. On ATWT the scab writers not only had Doug Marland’s detailed outlines but also focused on characters like Kim and Bob, who I believe married around that time.
So if the writers do strike, who will write the show? Producers (except for the two executive producers who currently headwrite for their shows), network personnel, WGA members who secretly cross the picket lines, and non-WGA writers (like those who write for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) who will also work in secrecy.
How will a strike affect your soap? What follows is a “guesstimate” on my part. I have no inside information. These are only gut feelings on my part and your opinions may differ. This is no guarantee of future events, so no wagering, please.
•General Hospital: Might as well start with JFP. With the writers on strike Jill will become the de facto head writer of GH, just as she was for the year when OLTL had no headwriter. As McTavish’s outlines (however good they may be) run out expect even more inconsistent characterizations, lack of focus, and lack of follow-through. Remember the stories about Jill throwing out numerous scripts on OLTL because they were completely incoherent? Well GH has that to look forward to.
Posted by Laura Hinds at 8:57 AM