Over 11,500 film and television writers pushed themselves away from their keyboards last night triggering the first Hollywood strike in fifteen years.
Reports indicate the first shows to shut down were late night programs – NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” CBS’s “The Late Show,” ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and Comedy Central’s “Daily Show.”
Those shows will be in reruns for the week, but the prospect of them not producing new trash disguised in the form of supposed humor strikes many of us as a win for the discerning public.
My friend and former Focus on the Family colleague Bob Waliszewski, who headed up our Plugged In department for several decades, seemed to echo this sentiment when he shared his first take on social media:
“The news reported that Hollywood’s writer strike would impact my ‘favorite shows.’ Nope! outside of local and national news and occasional sports, I have no favorite shows. None. Nada. Zero! Perhaps the answer here is becoming clearer!”
Our friends at the Babylon Bee struck a similar chord, featuring a story with the headline:
“Hollywood Movie Quality Expected To Improve Exponentially As Writers Go On Strike”
Writers are demanding higher pay and increased residuals from streaming programming.
Tension between executives and writers is nothing new, of course. Most of us are not in a position to weigh-in on the economics of such things, but we can see and react to the product that the writers, studios and shows are producing.
Generally speaking, Hollywood and television writers are in a race to the bottom, and fast.
Whether it’s their near single-minded obsession with sex outside of marriage or their insistence on mocking the Christian faith and socially conservative ideals, American viewers would be better off if this strike lasted a very long time.
In fact, Americans would be better off if the networks simply reran episodes of the Andy Griffith Show in place of the strike-impacted programs.
If the writers, studios and producers can’t make the dollars work, one has to wonder if it’s ever occurred to them that maybe it’s not about the money but the material they’re serving up.
To illustrate just how far television fare has fallen, consider that once upon a time in the 1950s, Catholic Archbishop Fulton Sheen had one of the highest-rated shows on the prime-time schedule, second only to comedian Milton Berle. Sheen actually beat out Berle from time to time, prompting a reporter to ask the legendary comic how that was even possible.
Referring to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Milton Berle replied, “Bishop Sheen has better writers.”
It rarely seems to occur to Hollywood that there are millions of people like you and me who want to watch clean, clever, and uplifting material. The studios and unions will be debating and negotiating dollars and cents when they should be focusing on the moral sensibilities of the audience.
Of course, not every writer going out on strike subscribes to the gutter game of late-night innuendo, sarcasm and overall bad taste. Unfortunately, though, the good all too often gets lumped in with the bad.
But getting back to the truly talented writers at the Bee, they landed yet one more barb on the subject by jabbing via another headline:
“Nation Surprised To Find Out Late-Night TV Actually Had Writers”
Thankfully, at least for now, not as many working ones as there were a few nights ago.