Writers and Reality

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike against the studios has been going on for almost two months now, with no end in sight. Early press coverage pointed out that one of the most immediate impacts on consumers would come when the pipeline of already-written episodes of TV shows dries up. The coverage went on to threaten a deluge of repeats and reality shows.

I was tempted to make the joke that reality shows are just as scripted, and hence just as vulnerable to the WGA, as fiction. I didn’t, because I was too busy and the joke too obvious.

I now realize that I should have made the joke, because of course it’s truer even than I realized. The WGA’s latest demand is that it be allowed to extend its membership to cover people who “write” for reality shows such as Extreme Makeover or Biggest Loser.

I saw the story in a Business Week column by Ron Grover. Ron thinks that the writers, or at least the WGA leaders, are losing the plot. But I won’t go in to that, or attempt any more jokes, right now…

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