A Question for Fans: Episodes Written by Scabs   

I’m almost all caught on last week’s TV but I fear that I won’t get Best in Week out before the new week begins. Ah, well, no one’s perfect, right?

Which, of course, means this post is once again going to be about the strike. Only this time I’m curious about how fans feel about something. This was third tidbit in Nikke Finke’s post about Day 4 of the Strike:

“There’s a widely circulating rumor that a very famous producer is flying in scab writers from the UK to work on his “bloody” TV hourlong. And that, in gratitude, a certain network gave the show a back 9 order. I heard the producer put out blue pages on the show and told crew that the next entirely new script was forthcoming. Some on the picket line encountered the showrunner who confirmed that non-union people were being hired. I’m trying to confirm so I can name names.”

Ignoring for the moment the particular show she’s referring to (since it’s rather obvious and just confirms everything I’ve ever heard about that “very famous producer”), what do you do if you’re a fan of any show that hires scabs? Does that depend on which side you support? I don’t think it would to me but maybe that’s because of the side I do support. Honestly, the very thought of it puts me off.

Since I have no clue how we (the viewers) would be able tell, I hope the WGA finds a way to get information like that (shows with confirmed scab writers on the payroll) out there. I don’t support boycotting shows right now but I can’t imagine myself watching episodes written during the strike. In fact, I worry that it’d forever taint the show for me.

No. Strike that. I don’t just worry about it. It’s already happening with the show referenced in Nikki’s report. I’m not loving it as much as some of you but I do like people on the show and know people involved with it. I don’t want to hope it fails but, if the rumor turns out to be true, there’s some part of me that will do exactly that.

I’m curious how others feel on this topic. The majority of viewers won’t have this problem because they aren’t as aware of what’s going on behind the scenes of their favorite show. But we do and it does affect how I view my shows. What about you?

14 Responses to “A Question for Fans: Episodes Written by Scabs”

  1. 1
    mm says:

    I’m just sick about it. I 100% love the show in question and I also 100% support the writers. My only hope is that they won’t be able to FIND scabs to write for them and maybe it will all be a moot point.

  2. 2
    afrocurl says:

    I have to seriously think about whether to watch the show in question because of a few reasons, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth just thinking that it’d be done.

  3. 3
    Anita says:

    I hope it’s not true, but it definitely leaves that metallic taste in my mouth, if that is the case. If this is truly Moonlight, as much as I love Jason Dohring, I’m not sure if I could watch past episode 11 without feelings like a complete ass since I agree with the reasons for the WGA strike and saying I support them, but still watching scab TV is completely hypocritical and I might as well throw away my ‘signs’ at that point.

  4. 4
    Mary says:

    I think it makes for a troubling quandry. As someone who supports the writers, I don’t want to support the scabs, but as a fan of the TV show I wouldn’t want it to fail and if we all stopped watching that’s what would happen. The actions of this producer certainly aren’t honorable, but they may not reflect the true feelings of the cast or the production people. They’re probably just doing their jobs. After all if they refused to work then they would be unemployed. But then I find so little to watch on TV anyway, that it may be a moot point after all.

  5. 5
    Rae says:

    MM: That’s kind of how I feel too. Well that and that the two parties involved in the strike go back to the table and sort this all out.

    Roz: Yeah, I know. I feel the same.

    Anita: Unfortunately, I’m guessing some aspect is true even if it’s not entirely true. I feel the same. And I can’t help thinking about how the people working on the show must feel. Even if they don’t agree with the writers, it’s an awkward situation. They obviously don’t want to lose their jobs but they started out as a “team” so I’m sure it working on scab scripts must feel a bit like betrayal.

  6. 6
    Rae says:

    Mary: I agree about the staff/crew of the show. I know they are just doing their jobs and that’s what I meant about being torn. I know people who work on the show and I don’t want them to lose their jobs.

    But, as a fan of other shows and as someone who supports not just the writers but all of the other people in the industry who deserve the same thing, I don’t like that the success of the show will be a result of going against the strike in such a way. That is what will forever taint the show in my eyes. The thing that I will remember when one of the shows I like more does get canceled (and it’s cast and production crew fired, also for just doing their jobs) because someone involved didn’t hire scabs to get in good with the network. And I know there are lots of things that probably led to the decision to do something like this but, at the end of the day, it’s something that I will forever associate with the show. I know that your typical TV fan won’t which was why I was curious if other fans like me (more aware of the goings on behind the scenes than your average American viewer) feel the same.

    There’s more to it, of course. Just look at what is going on with Ellen D. For the people who actually work on the show, it’s not really as clear-cut as being able to say, “I didn’t agree with the decision. I was just doing my job.” My awareness of that further proves that I’m not your typical fan but I did try to stick to just the fan perspective for the purposes of this post.

  7. 7

    I’ve already avocated scabs so I am perfectly fine with this and really as an anti-union guy, I am pro anything union busting. Granted when I suggested scabs, I was hoping Heroes would bring me on so I could fix the show. But anyways.

    As for it causing an awkward aituation, when it comes to supporting a member of my “team” or feeding my family, I would always choose to feed my family. The writers are being selfish for putting all these innocent people out of work.

  8. 8
    Rae says:

    I’ll have to agree to disagree with you about scabs (not surprising since we’ve got different viewpoints on unions, etc.). However, I don’t really see the writers being selfish as wrong. Especially since the issue at hand is one that will eventually affect almost everyone else on their “team” or in their family. If the writers backed down to save those innocent people from losing their jobs, what do they say in five years when those innocent people start asking why they have to do all this work for online content and yet they don’t get paid for it? Ahh but I guess that’s getting into a union discussion too.

    At the end of the day, I just think it’s shortsighted to think it’s as simple as the writers being selfish and putting innocent people out of work. Or, at least, not to say the same for the other side.

  9. 9
    Anita says:

    Part of me wants the cast and crew to walk out and not let the exec producer force them into supporting scab TV, but they all would have to do it together in order for it to work. It’s not like Jason can just walk out, because they’d just write him out of the show and he’d be out of a job and the show would still be using scabs. Not to mention, if the actors did refuse to show up for work, it’s more that likely that they’d end up ‘network blacklisted’, which would suck hard when they’re just trying to stand up for what’s right. If Joel Silver put them in this situation there is no ‘win’ for them, as they’re either working, yet feeling guilty about it because they support the WGA or they don’t work and get blacklisted and also potentially sued for violating their contracts. As you mentioned, even any actors that might be anti-WGA are kind of in an awkward position, because they’re going to be working with WGA writers again when the strike is finally over. I’m pretty sure the British version of the WGA announced they supported the strike, so hopefully Joel Silver won’t be able to bring any scabs from there, because they’ll be worried about being blacklisted in the UK. *crosses fingers*

  10. 10
    Harper47 says:

    You’re talking about Moonlight? Well I guarantee you that most people won’t know this. I did a little sounding out about the strike at activities I was at over the weekend and I’m sad to report that most people do not care at all about the strike and further, when I mentioned that there might be alot more reality around most of the people I talked to said “That’s practically all I watch anyway.” And then discussed: Upcoming Project Runway, America’s Most Smartest Model(which seem more popular than ANTM), Biggest Loser and The Amazing Race.

    As a fan of Moonlight I want it to stay on the air. I hate reading people saying it will be tainted. I don’t think the crew or actors have the option to just walk out. So I won’t blame any of them – or the show – if this happens.

  11. 11
    Anita says:

    I agree, it’s absolutely not the fault of the crew or the actors and they’re contractually obligated to work, but then if we support the WGA strike, but still watch scripted TV that is written by non-WGA writers, then where’s the actual support or pain/impact to AMPTP? Its just meaningless words at that point…

  12. 12
    kristina says:

    IF this show that’s being talked about is Moonlight..well then I definitely support the scabs. It would be a shame for such a great show to lose out because of timing. I personally also support scab writers. I do understand how hard writers work, MY SON is one of them. However, I see a few things differently and probably unpopularly. I think that striking at this time is particularly selfish, during the holidays …causing layoffs. I also thing that our country is going through a rough patch with the war and housing market and there is a lot of frustration out there…and believe it or not TV does help. It’s important down time for a lot of people. I have mixed feeling with unions, in general I believe they can do more harm then good, economy wise but that is another subject.

  13. 13
    Amy says:

    This show is in the unique situation of needing all the life support it can get at this time and it’s unfair to expect it to wither and die because of the timing of the strike when in reality, an agreement will eventually be reached. If it were one of the more established shows, like CSI, then I’d feel different.

  14. 14
    Josue says:

    I’m just sick about it too. I realy dont like it..