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The Hollywood Wars: Writers vs. Agents

Old 04-13-19, 05:35 PM
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The Hollywood Wars: Writers vs. Agents

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has just instructed its members to fire their agents because the agents have 1) opted for packaging fees from producers instead of commissions and 2) have formed production entities themselves which puts them in a conflict of interest with their writer clients.

It's all explained in this article: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/12/b...ents-fire.html

I have a question, though, about this paragraph:
During a programming boom often referred to as Peak TV 495 shows were available in the United States last year, thanks in part to the rise of streaming television writers have claimed that their pay is stagnant or going down. The writers blame what they perceive as insufficient compensation on the agencies, accusing them of corrupt business practices.
If there are so many scripted shows, wouldn't prices for writers naturally go down? How many of these shows are remotely successful? How many are actually seeing a reasonable profit? What kinds of audience figures are we talking about? This is not like the era when the three networks dominated and everyone watched "Gunsmoke" or "M*A*S*H" every week and shows like that made tons of money and they could hire the best writers. I imagine lots of younger, inexperienced writers are being recruited for these 495 shows. Why should they expect big salaries when they're just starting out?

What am I missing here? Can anyone who's more familiar than I am with current industry practices explain how this works?

Thanks.



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