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Arts and Entertainment

Writers return to work

By Denebola
Published: March 2008

By Alexandra Lewis

For many months, TV lovers have been waiting on the edge of their seats for their beloved shows to return after a bitter writer’s strike that halted TV shows mid-season.
While many Americans are excited about the upcoming return of their favorite shows, most are not familiar with the original reason for the strike or the exact terms of the final agreement.
Writers Guild of America West states that 50 percent of writers earn less than $105,000 a year, and 20 percent earn less than $38,000 a year.
When compared to the $20,000,000 that Leonardo DiCaprio earns per movie, a writer’s salary is measly.
Only the currently employed writers enjoyed  even these small salaries; 46 percent of the members of the Writers Guild of America West did not work at all in 2007.
Despite the already minimal amount of money these writers earn and use to support themselves and their families, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) tried to offer writers a new contract that would have eliminated “every gain the writers have made since the 1960s, claimed the Writers Guild of America West.
This became the fundamental motivation for the writers’ strike that began on November 5, 2007. The writers remained on strike for approximately 14 weeks before coming to an agreement with the AMPTP.
The new contract “ensures that Guild members will be fairly compensated for the content they create for the internet, and it also covers the reuse on new media platforms of the work they have done in film since 1971 and in TV since 1977, says Patric M. Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America West.
The contract also “gives writers the same separated rights provisions in new media enjoyed by the creators of original TV and motion picture scripts, as well as residuals for the reuse of movies and television programs on the internet and in new media, says Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America East.
The big question on viewers’ minds is when these shows will finally return? Most shows that were abruptly stopped in the fall due to the strike will resume but with only five or six new episodes.
Unfortunately, Jack Bauer won’t have 24 hours until January 2009, but Gossip Girl will continue gossiping for another five episodes beginning April 21. Grey’s Anatomy’s Meredith and Derek will resume their complicated relationship on April 24, with five new episodes. The Office’s Jim and Pam will be back at their desks April 10, with six new episodes, and Lost’s Jack and Kate will try to get off the island for another one or two episodes before shooting five more that will begin airing April 24. Unfortunately, saving the cheerleader on Heroes will be put off until next fall ‘€ sorry Mohinder.
While most people appreciated the end of the strike and the return of their favorite shows, those feelings should really be directed toward the people who worked so hard to write the characters in the first place.
After many weeks of fighting for what they believed in, the writers were finally fairly rewarded for their hard work, and that is worth more than any episode.

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