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Tube Bits For 11/09/07

  • The classic ’80s TV show Knight Rider is getting the re-boot treatment and what better way to get in the mood than to play with a radio controlled KITT? This beauty comes complete with turbo sounds, the voice of KITT and the awesome ‘Cylon’ eye. What more could you ask for? Aside from actually being in stock that is.
  • As if the poor showing by Heroes wasn’t enough, NBC’s much hyped show, Bionic Woman has seen its ratings decling by 50% since its debut. It seems that the show just isn’t resonating with people, and the current writer’s strike just might kill the show completely. I know I haven’t been watching it and I’m not upset about that.
  • Raise your hand if you remember the cult British SF TV show The Champions. That’s what I thought, all 3 of you. Well, Guillermo del Toro has signed on to write and direct a feature film based on the short-lived show. Sounds like a cross between Heroes and The Greatest American Hero, which goes to show there’s nothing new under the sun. Including short lived shows.
  • Remember when Sci Fi released the webisodes of Battlestar Galactica leading up to the third season? Ronald Moore gave E! Online the scoop on how Sci Fi was trying to screw over cast and crew on the webisodes by not wanting to pay them for the work, or credit them from the writing. That’s just wrong. Suddenly torrenting Razor doesn’t feel as bad anymore.
  • If you’re looking for a new anime fix, ADV Films has released, for free, the first episode of Venus versus Virus on their website. Looks like something about demons and demon hunters.
  • It seems that Fox was either very smart, or very lucky, concerning the writer’s strike. Apparently, The Sarah Conner Chronicles is still set to air starting in January, which means Fox thinks they have enough episodes in the can to go forward. And, luckily, pseudo-canceled show New Amsterdam gets a new lease on life, premiering in February. I’m going to go with the ‘luck’ theory.
  • Planet Of The Apes wasn’t just a hit movie franchise, it was also a short-lived TV show. A short-lived TV show with it’s own action figure line! And of course there were commercials hocking them and of course, YouTube has them. Awesome! Although I have to take issue with the term ‘action’ regarding these toys.
About JP Frantz (2323 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

7 Comments on Tube Bits For 11/09/07

  1. Not that I am an expert on the writers strike or anything, but I recently read that some studios started stockpiling shows in Nov of last year in anticipation of a strike. I also read that the writers guild didn’t want to meet with the producers until the summer of 07, despite being asked to start negotiations in fall of 06. Both of these things tell me they were always going to strike and wanted the public showdown they are getting.

    As for not getting paid for webisodes of BG – I don’t know about you but I saw them as nothing but promotional material. Did you really find them to be exciting entertainment that stood on their own?

  2. Promotional or not, they webisodes still had to be written, shot and produced. I think its wrong to ask the people involved to work on them for free.

    Now, if they had been put together using scenes that had been cut from the TV episodes, then I don’t see a problem not paying those involved, as they would already have been paid for their work.

  3. The world of Hollywood isn’t like the real world. When writers complain about not getting paid or doing something for free, what they mean is they aren’t given a specific check just for that thing.

    My assumption is, these writers / actors / crew were all being paid to develop BG and they did this project at the same time. The BG contract indicated that they were responsible for developing promotional material. Maybe they should have demanded a special contract or payment before doing these webisodes, but they didn’t and the studio feels their existing BG contract covered it. This is a contract dispute, not a theft.

    The studios are making money off DVDs and Internet distribution of works and are making great profits. The writers (and I suspect others like Directors and Actors whose guilds’s contracts aren’t up for renewal yet) want to be compensated just like they are for TV or movie distribution – and they should be. But it doesn’t sound to me like this one BG contract dispute is relevant to the discussion except that the works were shown on the internet. I suppose the ultimate question is, if these webisodes were played on TV instead would there have been compensation? If not, then this shouldn’t be discussed at the same time.

  4. OK I went back and reread the article linked and something just isn’t right here. Let’s take a look.

    [snip]

    “When we were approached to do ‘Galactica’ Webisodes, the studio’s position was they didn’t want to pay anyone to do it,” Moore said. “They considered it promotional material. They weren’t going to pay any of the writers or the actors or the directors to do it, which we thought was crazy.”

    [/snip]

    Sounds to me like the studio asked them to create the material based on the existing contract, and the crew said no. OK, so far so good.

    [snip]

    At first, the crew refused to do them, but SciFi Channel eventually sweetened the pot saying they would pay everyone to create the Webisodes, however they compromised saying they wouldn’t actively give credit to those who produced it.

    [/snip]

    SciFi agreed to pay everybody. Great – I assume they have this in writing? Or perhaps it was an oral agreement witnessed by several people who will testify to this? The last bit about not giving credit sounds like they were still trying to claim it was promotional material (ie, a commercial) and thus not a short film. In any case, it sounds like there is an agreement, but I get the feeling we don’t have the whole story. Me making assumptions (as I did in my previous post) doesn’t help either.

    [snip]

    “They weren’t going to acknowledge anybody who wrote it,” Moore said. “And then I refused to deliver the Webisodes, and they came and took them anyway, which is their right since they own the show … but it really made me aware of the issues.”

    [/snip]

    At this point I am lost. Everybody agreed to do them, SFC agreed to pay the crew, and the team knew up front that SFC didn’t want to give credit. Then after they are created, Moore decides to hold them hostage and change the deal. SFC ‘took them’ (whatever that means, we’re talking about digital media so did they really waltz in and physically take masters?) and released them despite a WGA complaint. Of course, note that nowhere here does anybody state that the crew wasn’t compensated. The main complaint seems to be that they didn’t get credit, not that they didn’t get paid. Maybe they believed they should get a residual from the webisodes in addition to upfront payment?

    Bottom line for me is, we are getting one side of the story and a disjointed one at that.

  5. Not only did I watch the Planet of the Apes show when it was on, I also watched the even shorter lived Planet of the Apes cartoon!

  6. “Bottom line for me is, we are getting one side of the story and a disjointed one at that.”

    Yeah, I gotta agree with you, there…

    I’m just hoping everything gets straightened out in short order…these razor-flashbacks have made me even hungrier for the Razor film, which should have me even HUNGRIER for the new season!! FRAK! I can’t wait!!

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