Strikers Gain Fan Support
November 12, 2007 2:53 PM
Although the Writers Guild of America's pre-strike media campaign was criticized as sluggish, the guild's headline-grabbing series of protests last week have managed to attract the sympathy of some viewers.
"Some people thought we'd be against the writers because our favorite shows are going away, but we wanted to show that some things are more important than a few shows airing full season," says Glowy Box blogger Liz Pardue, who organized tomorrow's "blog strike." "There needs to be an education effort made and we're trying to do our part."
This morning, “CSI” fans funded a Burbank aerial banner fly-by with a statement of support.
Fan site AintItCoolNews.com and others have linked to a petition supporting the writers that claims more than 44,000 signatures. “The sooner the strike is settled, the sooner the writers can return Dwight Schrute, Nancy Botwin, Chloe O’Brien and Hurley Reyes to us,” the site says.
By putting showrunners front and center last week, the WGA managed to emphasize that original episodes of fan favorites such as “The Office,” “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” are at risk. The guild also crystallized its complex contract dispute around the singular topic of online downloads. This week, the WGA plans to put more prime-time actors on the picket line to continue feeding the media mill.
In this regard, the networks and studios have thus far been at a disadvantage.
The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers has impressive executives in front of the microphones, but nobody who has come across as sympathetic or relatable. Statements by media moguls such as CBS President Leslie Moonves and News Corp. President Peter Chernin shrugging off the strike are also, in effect, shrugging off the concerns of their viewers.
Moreover, the AMPTP argument that the strike hurts below-the-line workers could effectively paint writers as unduly selfish for going on strike, especially right before the holidays—if it weren’t being undermined when Mr. Chernin says the strike is “probably a positive.” And: “We save more money in term deals and, you know, story costs and probably the lack of making pilots than we lose in potential advertising."
Makes it tougher to argue writers are being greedy when you’re pointing out the bottom-line benefit of hundreds of employees losing their jobs.
UPDATE: Glowy Box (good name, tho fellow protesting blog "Seriously? OMG! WTF?" also has merit) has updated her Tuesday blog blackout list: 21 entertainment blogs and counting will go dark in a few hours. With the story of their protest getting considerable online pickup, let's see if they can all withstand that meth-like blogger urge to post content tomorrow as their traffic surges.
UPDATE II: Striking Bloggers Plan "Adopt a Writer" Campaign
Entertainment blogs supporting WGA strikers plan to continue their writer solidarity efforts with an "Adopt a Writer" campaign.
The plan is still in early stages and has not yet been announced, but the general idea to have each blogger profile a striking Hollywood writer—tell their story about why they're on strike and how it's affected their life. The striking writers won't contribute any content to the blogs since they are, after all, on strike.
UPDATE III: WGA Nixes Friday "Fan Day" Rally