Editor Speaks Out: Thank you for giving our shows back

Alexandra Capotorto

Next to Sept. 16 (my birthday) and Dec. 25 (Christmas), Feb. 11, 2008 has become my third most favorite day. On this date, it was announced that the Writers Strike would be coming to an end and that was the best news I had heard in a long time.

An avid television watcher for quite some time, I felt a sigh of relief when it was posted on People.com that the strike was over. Our favorite shows will be returning to their usual nighttime spots in the near future, and we will once again become a permanent fixture on our futons.

The strike happened for an important reason, even though back in December, I pitched a fit when “Heroes” aired its season finale five months prematurely. But the more I researched, the more I understood and the more I agreed with the strike. At first it was confusing, but now it all makes sense. The strike was against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, an organization that represents the interests of almost 400 American and film producers including NBC Universal (Jeffrey Zucker), CBS Corporation (Les Moonves), Paramount Pictures (Brad Grey) and Warner Brothers (Barry M. Meyer). These are just four of the eight most influential companies.

Those participating in the strike argued over DVD residuals and that a writer’s residuals, or profits made from syndicated airings or purchases of a program, are a necessary part of a writer’s income. This is typically relied upon during periods of unemployment common in the writing industry. The WGA requested a doubling of the residual rate for DVD sales, which would result in a residual of 0.6% (up from 0.3%) per DVD sold. (www.wikipedia.com)

Without writers we wouldn’t have anything to watch. They write the opening monologues for late night television, so there goes Leno and Letterman. They write a script for teleprompters for award shows (bye bye Golden Globes) and they write the scripts for our shows. In all fairness, the fact that writers weren’t receiving residuals based off of DVD sales, syndication, online streams, iTunes purchases and other forms of New Media just didn’t seem okay. The writers would make no money otherwise and can’t make a living.

So, during what I dubbed the “black period,” I obviously had some spare time. I don’t know about you, but I actually ventured out into what is called the world and took a breath of fresh air and exercised not only my mind but my body as well. However, I don’t think words can accurately express how thrilled I am that my fingers, especially my thumb, will be getting a workout of their own in the upcoming weeks as they become one with the remote control.

Shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “Gossip Girl” won’t be returning until April, but the 80th annual Academy Awards are set to air on Feb. 24. For some time, the Oscars were thought to be on their way to suffering a fate like that of the Golden Globes, with just a press conference reading aloud the names of the recipients. But lo and behold we will be having our Oscar season. I’ll be able to relish in the gorgeous gowns the actresses squeeze themselves into during the pre-show. At show time, I’ll imagine holding that 8.5 pounds of Oscar gold while practicing my very own award winning speech, which I think is better than the actual award winners’. And alas, during the post-show I’ll complain about who should have won and who was less than deserving of the honor.