Monday, 4 February 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On... #40: Deal or No Deal?

Nope, I'm not talking about that lame game show where people blindly guess their way to fabulous prizes, though it is good to see Howie Mandel have a good job.

Nope, I'm talking about the Writer's Strike that has pretty much paralysed the industry.

Reports are flying left and right about how the writers and the AMPTP are on the cusp of a deal, and how the scribes will be scribbling again by the end of the week.

Peter Chernin, president of Fox, was reported of bragging about how the strike was over at his priv
ate box at the Super Bowl. Disney/ABC is even planning to hold the Oscar ceremonies as if it won't be picketed.

Now that's the real crux of the argument.

The Academy Awards are more than just a four hour televised awards ceremony honouring more and more films that are seen by fewer and fewer people. In fact, they have become one of the key factors in the Hollywood economy.

It goes beyond just the ratings and ad revenue raked in by the show itself, there's also the countless broadcast hours and reams of paper used to hype the awards in the weeks leading up to the show, and then spent all over again criticizing/praising the show and the people in it, and what they wore for weeks afterwards.

That filler alone is worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the media companies, more than Britney Spears' mental breakdown.

Then there's the other financial aspect. The pre-Oscar and post-Oscar parties are essential times to get financing for future productions. They help blind bored hedge-fund managers from Europe, and Asian bankers with the glamour of celebrity, and the prestige of the world's most famous awards. How can you say no to the man who got Angelina Jolie to shake your hand?

Glamour is a powerful weapon.

That's why I'm concerned about all this talk of a settlement.

It could mean two things.

1. The moguls are worried about losing the cash cow that comes along during Awards season, and are hurrying to make a deal, any deal, with the writers to get the show back on.


2. The moguls still want the show to go on, but are just playing the WGA like a violin, hoping that an appearance of reasonableness will dupe the WGA into signing a waiver for the Academy Awards. Then, once the awards and those deals are done, they go right back to being the stonewalling greed-heads that give big business a bad name. It wouldn't be the first time the AMPTP have negotiated in bad faith.

That's why I'm hoping that the WGA doesn't grant a waiver to the Oscars until a good deal is signed, sealed and delivered, and not a millisecond sooner.

No deal, no show.

But I'm just ranting again.

I tend to ramble....

Be sure to visit this post, and tell me what movies would you like to see get made, but probably never will.

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