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Assignment #8

When one of my favorite television shows, The Office, ended its fourth season abruptly after only eight episodes, I have to admit that I was upset. The show halted not knowing when they would begin filming again, or even if the season would be completed, due to the Writers Guild of America’s strike. Now that many tv shows have run out of new episodes to air, and primetime television has turned to reruns or worse, more of America has stopped to take notice, and complain. I have to wonder how many of these people know the issues that the Writers Guild of America (WGA) is striking over. The main concerns the writers have voiced is not receiving residuals for DVD sales and online video streams of the shows that they write. The studios make money off of the advertisements that go along with both, and the actors and actresses featured are paid accordingly. Now in talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the WGA has dropped the issue of union jurisdiction over reality and animation writers, and is now solely focusing on residuals for DVD sales (they want an increase to 0.6% of sales, up from 0.3%), and residuals for “new media” which applies to all future usage and distribution in any form over the internet. There is much promise to the current talks, and both parties hope to come to an amicable agreement prior to the 2008 Academy Awards ceremony, which could potentially be in jeopardy if the WGA continues striking. So far this strike has run for 13 weeks and counting, while the last strike the WGA had ran for 21 weeks. Thes strike is costing the industry over $1 billion, and could increase if an impasse is not met. With the writers not receiving near the amounts of money that actors or the studios get for the work or production of the scripts they write is completely unfair, and they should be allowed to see some of the money they are helping to generate. Support should be offered to the writers, and with any luck perhaps we’ll all see our favorite shows return to television in the fall of 2008.

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