"Studio executives are intelligent, brutally overworked men and women who share one thing in common with baseball managers: they wake up every morning of the world with the knowledge that sooner or later they're going to get fired." - William Goldman
By November 1, two important entertainment deadlines shall come to pass: the Writers Guild of America's contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers expires and Fox might have stopped cramming commercials into every nook and cranny of Game Four of the 2007 World Series long enough to let the damned thing end already. The nearly four-hour contest finally brought the interminable 2007 postseason to a close with a 4-3 Red Sox victory and a sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
One event illustrates the dire consequences of the other. Without scriptwriters around to keep scripted television series (and, eventually, movies) coming, the television viewers of America will be exposed to the cheapest of overseas fare and, worse, the tyranny of game shows and other "unscripted" fare.
Of course, fifteen years of "reality" television has inured Americans to the importance of those sardonic quotation marks. The "story editors" and "story producers" that set up the loaded situations and muck with the recorded material in the editing bay create the necessary dramatic tension and character definition that every story requires, no matter the level of fiction implied.
Why bother? Shouldn't real life be exciting enough? If it were, you wouldn't need television to entertain you; your spouse sleeping with your sister while hiding the fortune in the Bahamas with the porter that speaks barely enough English to believe you asked for the treasure chest to be tossed into the ocean and not kept under his bed just before he acquired amnesia and forgot the location of the chest should be enough to keep the ol' heart racing.