TV on Strike examines the upheaval in the entertainment industry by telling the inside story of the hundred-day writers' strike that crippled Hollywood in late 2007 and early 2008. The television industry's uneasy transition to the digital age was the driving force behind the most significant labor dispute of the twenty-first century.
The strike put a spotlight on how the advent of new-media distribution platforms is reshaping the traditional business models that have governed the television industry for decades. The uncertainty that sent writers out into the streets of Los Angeles and New York with picket signs laid bare the depth of the divide between the media barons who rule the entertainment industry and the writers who are integral as the creators of movies and television shows.
With both sides afraid of losing millions in future profits, a critical communication breakdown spurred a fierce battle with repercussions that continue today. The saga of the Writers Guild of America strike is told through the eyes of the key players on both sides of the negotiating table and of the foot soldiers who surprised even themselves with the strength of their resolve to fight for their rights in the face of an ambiguous future. In the years since the strike ended, the rise of digital distribution platforms has changed the business landscape in ways that few could have predicted when Hollywood guilds were feverishly trying to hammer out a contract template for a new era.
About the Author
Cynthia Littleton is deputy editor of news development at Variety and coauthor of Season Finale: The Unexpected Rise and Fall of the WB and UPN.
Table of Contents
1 Fear of the Unknown 1
2 Path to the Picket Line 22
3 Sowing the Seeds 40
4 Brinksmanship Across the Table 63
5 United Showrunners 88
6 Angst in the Executive Suite 123
7 Rallies, Retrenchment, and Late-Night Returns 137
8 Cue the Directors 165
9 Deal or No Deal? 190
10 The Finish Line 212
11 The Bloodletting 231