We’ve all heard about the “golden age of television.” And most of us have seen the #PeakTV hashtag floating around Twitter in the past year or so. (Like, can there really be too much TV? We think not.)
But here’s the kinda crazy thing about the current state of television: it almost all went to hell yesterday, when the Writers Guild of America threatened to strike over a pay dispute.
Yup, we almost had a repeat of one of the worst times in any TV lover’s memory: the WGA strike of 2007-08. Back then, production on every single scripted show in America stopped dead overnight, and the results were pretty devastating. There were no new talk shows or late night TV offerings to indulge in. Tons of shows that were “on the bubble,” a.k.a. could either be renewed or cancelled, were immediately cancelled. Really cool new projects that were in development were killed.
The only thing that was allowed to go on? Reality television. And we’re not talking about good reality television either; we’re talking about the lowest of the lows with writers under a completely different contract (who knew reality TV shows had writers anyway?). And don’t even get us started on how long it took movies to get made again in the aftermath of it all.
There was one tiny positive thing that came out of the strike back then — one. And that was the fact that while the networks were looking for creative ways to get new content on the air, they started working with Canadian broadcasters. That’s how shows like Flashpoint and The Listener got to be so big.
Anyhow, we almost got a repeat of that fiasco (which went on for months) yesterday after the WGA voted in favour of a strike if their demands weren’t met. They were going to strike today, which meant that TV writers everywhere had packed up their offices last night just in case.
And then the crazy, unthinkable thing happened: the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers actually came to an agreement. At the 11th hour, as they say. Like, we went to bed thinking we’d wake up to a strike here on the East Coast, and those crazy West Coast kids settled things while we were sleeping.
Renewals for everyone!
Apparently both sides agreed to a three-year deal in which the writers will now be fairly compensated for their work in the current landscape, which includes shorter TV seasons and lots of streaming options. That sounds fair to us; the writers are the unsung heroes of all our favourite shows, after all.
These guys definitely reached their deal at a great time, too. It’s May, which means all of the big networks in the States are about to announce which new shows they’re going to invest in for fall. They’re also going to confirm which shows will return for new seasons, and which ones have been cancelled.
Can you imagine going through all of that with no writers?
Yeah, us neither. Thankfully though, that’s now a situation we won’t have to face anytime soon. Now excuse us while we go celebrate the news by re-watching the last season of Game of Thrones.