Hollywood’s television writers seem serious about going on strike for higher pay, leaving many viewers to wonder when new episodes of “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” will run out.
It’s not that I don’t have some sympathy for the writers: while they’re well paid compared to many of their viewers (even full-time rookies start at $70,000), their salaries are minuscule compared to those of the pampered actors who put a pretty face (mostly) on the writers’ scripts.
Even so, if the writers go on strike, there’s not a single show that I will miss. I’ve never watched “CSI” or “Heroes,” and I don’t know why people get so excited over “Ugly Betty.” I didn’t even watch “Seinfeld” or “Friends.”
It’s not that I’m a troglodyte or an anti-TV nut: I catch the news, follow an occasional reality show, watch videos while working out, and enjoy an hour here and there watching the National Geographic, Discovery, and Food Network channels with Samuel.
I just can’t imagine why anyone would want to devote a major part of every day to becoming a target for commercials.
According to a report by the A. C. Neilson company, Americans watch an average of more than four hours of TV per day. Think about it: that’s equivalent to two full months (night and day) of every year, or more than 10 years of an American’s expected lifespan.
Is that good stewardship of the time we have on earth?
On average, children see more than 20,000 commercials every year.
That’s a scary picture.
Are we so unproductive or unimaginative that we really need constant entertainment?
There are so many other things to do, even after the household tasks are done. We could eat a family meal without extraneous noise, write a letter, phone a friend, read a good book, get some exercise, or practice any number of productive and healthful activities.
It would suit me fine if the writers strike for a long time: if folks get bored enough with reruns to discover more productive activities, maybe they’ll wean themselves from the need for constant entertainment.
That, of course, is a TV executive’s greatest fear, and the reason the networks will probably cave and settle the contract dispute sooner rather than later.
“You don’t want viewers turning away from television,” said Charles Floyd Johnson, an executive producer on “NCIS” (whatever that is), “because it can be hard to get them to turn back.”
We can only hope.