2023 advance pitches are in the books – let the talks begin between the ad sales and media buying teams! Oh, and let the negotiations between WGA and AMPTP resume. And so on; Please?
The writers’ strike isn’t just (temporarily) stalling the development pipeline, it’s deflated advances once a year, basically taking all star power out of live events and making Netflix’s big debut, well, not at all since I live. Naturally, all of this was the whole point of the daily pickets.
“One of the reasons that having a lot of people on the sidewalk, if you will, is so powerful is because you have to look people in the eye,” Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America – East, told IndieWire. . “You have to realize that these are actually human beings. This is not a shareholder fight by proxy… this is a human reality.”
We spoke to Peterson by phone just hours after The CW officially closed its 2023 advances, as it does every year, on Thursday. The end was more of a sigh of relief for everyone than a party. She did have some good waffles though.
Peterson said these “major rallies,” which kicked off Monday morning at Radio City Music Hall before NBCUniversal’s show doors open, should give the same advertisers a “pause” that companies like NBCU, Fox, Disney, Netflix and The CW spend hundreds of thousands of dollars – or more – to impress in spring New York City. “I would like to get the message that, ‘Oh boy, this industry needs to fix this. Otherwise, my investment in this medium will not pay off as I would like.’”
OK sure, that’s a not impossible leap. If the outcry messages didn’t reach that point, the boring presentations and their dearth of new programming probably did. And how bad did those after parties suck? Peterson can’t talk about it—as you can imagine, he wasn’t exactly invited (nor would he cross the picket line). But we can tell you with some authority: the presentations generally lacked enthusiasm and the parties had almost no glare, minus the open bar. Even Disney was missing the magic this week, when Tinsel Town looked more like just Tin Town. We needed the stars and those stars need their writers.
“There’s a reason a lot of people who are A-list actors have this promotional stuff in their contracts because the studios know it’s effective and they get buzz to the point where they can close some deals,” Peterson said.
Yep, CBS can’t rely on the smiling face of Justin Hartley to get them across the line this time around. But that’s not what anyone should be worrying about right now, Peterson said. “If it’s boring to watch a talentless upfront, imagine what it would be like to watch a show not written by a professional writer because of the strike. It’s deadly boring.
“Deadly boring,” really; Lowell Peterson, welcome to the advances.