There’s not much that I, as just one viewer, can do to affect the writers’ strike or the networks’ decisions, but I intend to do everything that I can to fight for what I love. In case you would like to do the same, I thought I would share with you my strategy for attempting to help my favorite shows survive the strike.
Let me say up front: I support the writers’ strike. If you want to understand why, visit http://unitedhollywood.blogspot.com and learn a lot. If you don’t have the time for that, sample this one account by Ron Moore of Battlestar Galactica that explains with a very concrete example why the writers are fighting: http://tv.ign.com/articles/833/833633p1.html
As a viewer, even though I support the writers, I fear the impact of the strike on my favorite shows. Supernatural tops that list by a staggering margin, but I also feel a lot particularly for Pushing Daisies, Numb3rs, Heroes, Chuck, Bones, Stargate: Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica,
This is what I’m doing to put my mouth, my eyes, and my money where my heart is, to hopefully ease the impact of the strike on my favorite shows.
1. Show support for the writers. I’m doing what I can, as a fan, to tell the networks, the studios, and the writers that I support the writers, and that I want both parties to get their asses back to the negotiating table to get this strike fairly resolved. In that regard, I have:
– Signed the WGA support petition linked through the unitedhollywood website.
– Adopted and displayed icons and banners in my Internet presence showing support for the writers. (If you want to find some, I would recommend http://www.lexigeek.com/blog1/2007/11/06/119, http://community.livejournal.com/elliptica/67360.html and http://www.fans4writers.com/promote.shtml )
– Spread the word through my personal blog on LJ and on TVGuide.com.
As the strike continues, I may also donate through one of the groups providing support to the writers, for example, through the fans4writers site (organized by the Whedonverse).
2. Show support for my show. I’m committing to do the following:
-- Write a polite letter to the network (to Dawn Ostroff at the CW, in the case of Supernatural) indicating my love and support for the show, my commitment to watching it whenever it appears (including reruns), and expressing my desire that the networks and the studios engage in good faith negotiations with the writers to resolve the strike promptly and ensure the continuation of the shows that we love. My Supernatural letter will also note that the fanbase is passionate and committed and will be there for the show whenever it returns, even if the strike causes a shortened season and multiple reruns.
– Continue to blog the show whether new episodes are airing or not.
3. Boycott alternative programming. If the networks introduce new unscripted reality programming to replace the scripted shows we love, DON’T GIVE THEM EYES. That’s no hardship for me, I’ll admit; “reality” programming does nothing for me, because what I want in entertainment is character, and drama, and stories, and people with whom I can become involved. But “reality” programming is a lot cheaper than scripted drama or comedy, and it doesn’t involve writers who are members of the Writers Guild of America, so it is likely to be an attractive alternative for the networks – unless we, as the audience, refuse to watch it. If the networks can’t point to eyes being on the screens, they can’t justify charging top dollar for advertising time, and that would cut the profits associated with having changed over to reality shows to replace the missing original dramas and comedies. Don’t let the networks fob off “reality” in place of the textured stories we really want!
4. Watch the reruns. Hey – the best way to keep demonstrating support for scripted drama and comedy programs is to keep watching them, even when they’re in reruns, particularly in preference to watching replacement “reality” programming. Watch your own skeins, and catch up on other scripted shows you’ve missed! Think of reruns as the opportunity to relive what you love and make new friends. And if the reruns go away, stick with DVDs rather than the alternative reality programming.
Those are my initial four basic principles for dealing with the writers’ strike and trying to keep my shows alive. I encourage you to try them, and to think of others. I will also be using letters to share my love with the casts and crews of the shows I’m rooting for, as they wind up out of work pending the resolution of the strike.