Strikers’ front cracking

<strong>STRIKE BREAKER:</strong> Fans of Mad Men and Weeds can stop holding their breath until they die, with the news late last week that, thanks to a waiver granted by the Writers Guild of America, both shows can get back to work, just in time to get episodes ready for the summer season. According to a story by Time magazine’s TV critic James Poniewozik, the WGA granted a waiver to Lionsgate, the producer of the shows, letting the small company join the ranks of David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, United Artists, the Weinstein Company and the NAACP Awards as beneficiaries of whatever inconsistent logic the Guild is relying on to let cracks appear in its strike front façade.

 

STRIKE BREAKER: Fans of Mad Men and Weeds can stop holding
their breath until they die, with the news late last week that, thanks to a
waiver granted by the Writers Guild of America, both shows can get back to work,
just in time to get episodes ready for the summer season. According to a story
by Time magazine’s TV critic James Poniewozik, the WGA granted a waiver to
Lionsgate, the producer of the shows, letting the small company join the ranks
of David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, United Artists, the Weinstein Company and
the NAACP Awards as beneficiaries of whatever inconsistent logic the Guild is
relying on to let cracks appear in its strike front façade.

 


On Newsday’s TV Zone blog, writer Verne Gay speculates that this could
open the door for a waiver for the Oscars late next month, as Lionsgate’s movie
production division has quite a few contenders up for awards this year,
including 3:10 To Yuma, Sicko, Juno and Away From Her. Besides the prestige,
Oscar wins can breathe second life into a film’s theatrical and DVD sales, which
is why a darkened Oscars is no one’s idea of a good time.

 


“Why would the WGA penalize the company it just signed a pact with -
Lionsgate - by picketing the Oscars, and forcing the Screen Actors Guild to do
same?” Gay asks. “It wouldn't.” Of course, Gay might be overestimating the pull
of a small player like Lionsgate, and the willingness of the Guild to look like
it’s willing to die a death of a thousand cuts by making more, and ever higher
profile, deals. But then again, the Guild is a Hollywood union, and nobody wants
to cheat themselves of the biggest party of the year, so right now let’s call
the odds on the Oscars even.

 



NYPD NUDE: With the sort of timeliness and consistent
logic that we’ve come to rely on when it comes to indecency rulings from the
U.S. Federal Communications Commission, a group of ABC affiliates have been
fined US$1.4 million for airing an episode of NYPD Blue that featured actress
Charlotte Ross in the nude, caught getting in the shower by the young son of
Dennis Franz’ Andy Sipowicz. The episode aired five years ago, and only the
affiliates who showed it in the earlier Central and Mountain time zones were
prosecuted. For those with a taste for this sort of thing, the ruling is rife
with the sort of unintentionally hilarious language unique to this sort of
bureaucracy:



“We find that the programming at issue is within the scope of our
indecency definition because it depicts sexual organs and excretory organ,” read
the report, “specifically an adult woman's buttocks. Although ABC argues,
without citing any authority, that the buttocks are not a sexual organ, we
reject this argument, which runs counter to both case law and common sense.”



The mind fairly reels at this sort of thing, not merely because of the
inconsistency of the FCC’s ruling – there are, it has to be said, more basically
obscene things to be seen on TV – but because we’ve never understood how someone
like Sipowicz could pull women who looked like Ross. Perhaps the FCC should
expand their standards to include blatant flights from logic and common
sense?


 
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