Monday, 11 August 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #146: What Tori Spelling Can Teach About Strategy

In keeping with the fledgling CW TV network's habit of putting all their eggs into one basket, they've scooped their cracked and yolk-leaking eggs from the Gossip Girl basket, and are dumping them all into the revival/spin-off of the Beverly Hills 90210 franchise. Some reports are saying that the fate of the entire network is hanging on how the spawn of 90210 does in the ratings come the fall TV season.

Well, it doesn't look good, and the show hasn't even aired yet.

Apparently they made arrangements for some of the original
90210 cast, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling to come back in non-regular but recurring roles. Now here comes the stupid part, and I'm not talking about betting the fate of your entire network on a show that died halfway through its original run, I'm talking about something else entirely.

You see, according to Nikki Finke they want Tori Spelling to work for less money than Jennie Garth and Shannon Doherty. And not just a little less, we're talking less than half, and although it's still a lot of cash per episode by normal human standards, it's the Hollywood equivalent of working for food.

Tori's walked, demanding parity, and the show now has a truckload of bad karma tainting audience opinion of the show.

Now some may say that this is just a ploy to get her off the show, but if it's that, then why did they sign her on in the first place?

If you don't want an actor to come back, then don't ask them to come back, and if they ask to
come back, tell that you're not taking the show in that direction.

The only reason I can think of is that someone in the management of the new 90210 wanted her there for the sole purpose of humiliating her with the lowball contract.

If that is the reason, then someone has forgotten the reason they're in business, it's supposed to be about making money, not petty vengeance.

Now if they didn't want her on the show, they shouldn't have signed her on, and if they wanted to somehow pay her less money, then they should have followed a simple procedure. Being a recurring character, and not a regular, she's not going to be on every episode. Simply write her into fewer, and fewer episodes, stating that it's being done to give her more time for her family, and reality TV commitments.

That way, you save money, and come out looking like a nice guy.

It's called using strategy, which is basically using your head for creative solutions to real or percieved problems.

But this ham-fisted stunt can only serve to make the producers look bad. They look petty, greedy, cruel, and small, the young actress with the young children, and the tiny reality show comes off as the victim, even though in the past she's been portrayed in the media as a spoiled marriage-wrecking ex-heiress. Nobody outside of the AMPTP ever uses the words: "sleaze-bag" "greedy" and "grasping" when describing actors in a dispute with producers, it's usually the other way around.

Anyway, let this be a lesson to you. If you don't want your show to get look bad, and everyone to think you're a jerk--

First: Don't put yourself in a position to be the jerk. Avoid placing yourself in situations where you will come off as petty, greedy, and cruel, even if you are.

Second: If the situation is inevitable, use your head to get out of the situation in a way that, if not help your image, at least not hurt it.

Diplomacy and strategy are your friends, exploit them, and then maybe you might be able to create the image of humanity.

Because if you don't, you might just sink your show and your network in the process.

And that would be just stupid.

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