Television and movies have been at a standstill since writers have gone on strike. It's gotten so bad that "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" has been running reruns of shows from when Jay began hosting. And it still sucks out loud.
Negotiations are going on to try to get writers back on the job, but it's going to have an impact on our favorite shows and films that are still in production. In today's entertainment-fueled society, that could be disasterous if the strike goes on much longer. We need our entertainment and we want it as soon as we can get it.
Television networks are ramping up game shows and reality shows to pick up the slack, but I don't think it's going to work. Sure, there's no need for writers on either show, but reruns, reality shows, and game shows can only take you so far before people get bored. Being the solutions-oriented guy I am, I think I've figured out a way to get us our entertainment fix and save movies and television.
Hire bloggers and online fiction writers to write the shows and movies at least on a temporary basis.
Having been in the blogosphere for about a year now, and having seen some other blogs out there for far longer, I can tell you there are some great writers out there just waiting to be discovered and paid for what they do. Some write smart comedy, some write fantastic prose, some even give insightful commentary that could easily be woven into a drama. And when it comes to great ideas, the fan fiction sites out there showcase some of the creativity that's out there to be tapped.
There is a caveat here, though. If the writers' strike ends soon, the blogger idea goes out the window because there won't be a need for them to help out. But having them out there as a possible resource may be a way to salvage the TV season and save movies that are in the middle of production and aren't completely written or rewritten yet.
There is another reason to consider using online writers: competition tends to create a better product. Within the past few years, we have seen absolute dreck passed off as a "hot new show" or a "must-see movie." Seriously, "Little Man" by the Wayans brothers was a rip-off of an old Warner Brothers cartoon, and, deservedly, it tanked. You may have some bright spots, but most of the entertainment industry these days is just trying to crank out whatever it can, regardless of whether it deserves to see the light of day.
At least some of the problem can be traced back to the writers. Take "The Simpsons" for example. In the 90s, it was truly a never-miss show because the writing was so good and made you laugh even if you disagreed with the sentiment. As time went on, however, the show has declined in quality. What used to be never-miss has become full of misses. There are only so many times you can see the same script idea recycled before you start looking for something else to watch.
Want to change that dynamic? Give the writers competition by farming out some of the writing duties. If they know that they may not have a lock on their jobs, it should fire up their imaginations to come up with better ideas so they would get their scripts approved for air. Then, we might not have to see another season of shows that run for 2 or 3 episodes before getting yanked.
So, if you're listening, Hollywood, give online writers a chance. We may surprise you. And we can't be any worse than the writers on "Baywatch."