TV producer threatens to strike

Where do these television writers get off? That’s my money they’re trying to get – money that I worked hard to get. Who has to scream at his personal assistants to get the littlest thing done, like getting me a Kennedy Center honor? Who has to worry about their Malibu house, their Beverly Hills house, their Palm Springs house and their Aspen house? The writers? I think not. Writers are lucky if they have one house. What have they got to worry about?

They don’t have to find a captain and crew for their yacht. They don’t have to find a chef and a personal trainer. They don’t have to support a team of accountants and lawyers. That’s why I get paid the big bucks. I take care of all that. That’s the trouble with writers – it’s all about them.

It’s producers like me that put in all the long hours trying to figure out how to take the garbage the writers give us and turn it into something advertisers will pay for. If it were up to the writers, all of television would be full of junk like “Masterpiece Theater” and “The Sopranos” instead of “Deal or No Deal” and “When Sharks Attack.”



It’s the producers who are responsible for what you see on television, not the writers. Think about it, who do you think picks all the writers? If I want another cop show, you’re going to see another cop show. If I want another doctor show, you’re going to see another doctor show. What have the writers got to do with it?

After I pay the actors, the camera operators, the set designers, the sound and lighting crew and the grips, there’s barely enough left over for my limo, my pool boy and a my table at Osteria Mozza.

Who has to sleep with all the starlets? It’s us, the producers. How else would we know whom to hire? Doesn’t anyone remember that old joke, “Did you hear about the starlet that was so dumb she slept with a writer?” It was true in the ‘20s, it’s true today.

I met a writer once. Ugly, ugly guy. No sense of fashion, whatsoever. I did the poor guy a big favor; I gave him the name of my tailor. Did he ever call to thank me? No. He said he wrote the part in this show for a certain actor. Can you believe that? He wanted to be in on the casting decisions. A writer! Can you imagine? He wanted some guy that looked like someone you’d meet on the street. Said it was “realistic.” I told my personal assistant to burn the chair the writer had sat in. God knows what diseases he was carrying.

I don’t know why we pay writers in the first place. They’re always coming up with these wacky ideas that I spend my whole day shooting down, and now they want a raise? Now they want a cut of the action. I say we’re doing them a favor by paying them to begin with.

Do you know what this whole writer’s strike thing is about? They want to get paid for stuff I put on the Internet! They have got to be kidding. It’s stuff they’ve already written! Do they even know how hard it is to put stuff on the Internet? I pay a team of highly trained experts to print out my e-mail every day. And that’s just my e-mail. Imagine how hard it must be to put a whole TV show or a movie on the Internet. And yet the writers think they should get a piece of that? Because they put a few words on paper? How egotistical can you get?

There are millions of people who would pay big money just to meet a famous actor, and, yet, writers get to hang out with them all day long, hear their suggestions and watch them improve the crappy scripts the writers give them – for free! Hell, the writers should be paying us, the producers. Where would they be if we went on strike?

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at jim_mullen@myway.com

Copyright 2008, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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