To catch a predator

Last time I was down in Texas, I couldn’t sleep, so I was channel surfing and stumbled across an episode of “To catch a predator

Wow. Good premise, but the execution was… Wow. One of worst shows I’ve ever seen. I’d rather watch Reality TV. Talk about repetitive. Even if it was entirely scripted and used actions instead of quasi-reality morons, I doubt they’d have been effected by the writer’s strike.

Hansen, the host, attempts to interview each one at length about their intentions. Without initially identifying himself the host interviews the predators about their intentions, and also reads some of the marginally graphic portions of the chat.

After a few minutes of nearly identical questioning, Hansen identifies himself as a Dateline NBC correspondent and informs the visitor that the entire interview has been recorded on hidden camera as part of the Dateline NBC story. Then, Dateline crew members with large cameras and microphones that don’t actually do anything jump in to frame, and the predator is offered a chance to make a final statement before being asked to leave. Then the cops grab him and the whole thing starts over with a new predator.

And this has been on the air since 2004?

Writer’s strike ending soon?

Woohoo, good news regarding the Writer’s Strike… As I’ve mentioned before, I’m generally anti-union, but in this case, the union had my full support.

The Writers Guild of America moved swiftly Sunday toward a resolution of its three-month-old strike, with guild leaders deciding to recommend a tentative contract to members and ask them to vote on a quick end to the walkout.


The end of TV as we know it

I’m normally about as anti-union as they come (and I can go on at length as to my own negative experiences with unions, although in fairness I’ve only worked for one — They tried to steal my pension, went out of their way to reduce my benefits, and attempted to have a few other goodies clawed back. Best of all, I paid union dues to fund these efforts. Thanks guys!)

However, the studios have really gone too far this time, and I’m 100% behind the writer’s guild.

Why? Well, the short version is that the agreement the studios are proposing pays out zero royalties to writers for non-traditional medias. In other words, writers get paid royalties when their work is shown on broadcast TV, cable, satellite, when DVDs are sold, etc, but NOT when

  • A project is declared unprofitable (The way Hollywood works, even Titanic was declared Not profitable — Almost nothing is actually profitable due to creative accounting tricks)
  • No payments for internet video watching
  • No payments for cellphone watching
  • No payments for webisodes
  • No payments for other media or distribution formats created in the future.

For those not keeping up, read the Writer’s Guild of America’s official position — Now obviously this is a biased viewpoint, but having read a substantial amount of information on both sides of the debate, it seems to be more or less reasonable.

So, even if it means we lose out on some kwality programming this season (or next, since the studios probably have enough scripts on hand to keep up more scripted dramas for a short time, although some of my favourite shows including The Daily Show and The Colbert Report will go off the air more or less immediately), in my opinion, it’s worth it.