Strike Is Over
Welcome to the "The Strike
is Over" edition of the Block Party for the week of February 19, 2008.
This is Jason Block and I would like to thank each and
everyone of you for downloading this audio podcast from the link at the
upper left, through the Itunes feed, or the webpage at 1.
Also, I thank each and everyone of my readers. You guys rock.
As everyone knows by now, the WGA strike against the AMPTP has ended.
Voting took place on Tuesday and members voted 3,492 to 283 to end the
strike. The new three-year contract now has to be ratified by members.
Voting will end on the 25th of February. Most shows are ramping up
production and the first shows to feel the impact are the daily talk
shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Late Night with Conan O'Brien", "The
Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." TV shows and comedies are trying
to get new episodes on as quickly as possible.
But one quote from WGA West president Patric Verrone really irked me. He
apologized to TV fans by saying, "Thank you for suffering through three
reruns and reality TV." Really, Mr. Verrone? Reality TV was considered
Ok, I will admit that not all reality TV was as high quality as the last
season of the "Amazing Race", but that quote says a lot about what the
WGA thinks of
you, the reality/game show/game competition show fans, as well as the
people he was trying to protect.
Remember, this was the man who led protests against "Temptation" and
"America's Next Top Model" to try to get them unionized...and failed. As
part of the deal he just struck with the AMPTP, he had to take the
unionization of reality show writers and animation writers off the
table. So, he is talking out of both sides of his mouth here.
And with all due respect to Mr. Verrone...reality TV not only saved the
industry that you are now coming back to, quality reality TV was proven
to be a force to be reckoned with and hopefully now shown to be a viable
alternative to scripted dramatic and comedic television.
In the final analysis, I believe mistakes were made. I did side with the
writers union and hopefully in the long run writers seem to have gotten
more money for internet residuals. But, I think major mistakes were a)
thinking that without scripted dramas and comedies people would run from
the TV screens in protests straight out of "Network". That didn't happen
as, lo and behold, the ratings didn't drop as far as they would have
hoped. And reality TV (sorry, Mr. Verrone) kept fans interest during a
period where TV viewership usually drops anyway-the December holiday
ratings slump after sweeps month.
The biggest mistake was when they struck. October 31 was a bad time, and
as stated earlier in this column, no one felt pain. And, I hope the
writers saw that,
reality TV not only was viable...it was necessary to keep TV on the air.
But everyone shouldn't relax just yet. June is just around the
corner...and the Screen Actors Guild isn't ready to start negotiating.
Just warning you guys...it isn't over yet.
What is over is the American
Idol Hollywood week, and we have our top 24. I have to admit, when
American Idol said they would change the game...they did. And I liked
what I saw.
They did hit us over the head with the fact that they allowed musical
instruments to be played, and for the most part it exposed a lot of
weaknesses in contenders who didn't have the chops. And it helped those
who had them.
The new format went like this for those who didn't see it. Of the 164
who got the golden ticket, everyone sang in front of the judges. 48 got
unanimous yeses, and made it to the final round. 116 didn't, but got a
second chance. If they didn't make it in the 2nd chance, they didn't
make it to the final day. And in the final day, we saw it narrowed to
the top 50. And on Wednesday night, the longest walk in Idol happened
when 50 were cut to 24.
So what did we see...we saw the semi-good talent get cut. Most of the
people spotlighted in the packages from the audition rounds got canned.
But a few have
made it to the top 24.
And after the Top 24, we have seen one thing. This class is the anti-Sanjaya.
Kyle Ensley and Josiah Leming...out. This could be the most talented Top
24 ever. And to all the message board posters who feel sympathy about
Josiah Leming's plight, know this. He wasn't that good. He showed
immaturity and emotional instability that wouldn't have done him well in
this competition. And he isn't coming back, no matter how hard you beg
And experience showed. All the people who had experience in bands,
previous record or previous talent shows made the Top 24. My personal
favorites are David Archuleta, Danny Noriega and Michael Johns for the
guys and Kristy Lee Cook for the females.
Now, it's up to you guys. So what happens in this round...on Tuesday
nights, it's the guys turn to sing (12 of them) and Wednesday-it's the
ladies (another 12), and on Thursday night...2 people from each group
get eliminated until we have the top 12.
What do you have to do to get to the top 12...and make it as the next
- You HAVE to make yourself noticeable. When you go from 24 to 20
to 16 to 12, you have to stand out from the crowd. Sing well, or some
cases sing badly. If you are so bad...two things can happen, you can
have one bad performance and be saved...or you can be so bad you are
- When you sing well, have that story to tell. David Archuleta,
in my opinion, is a lock for the top 12. He is 16 years old, very
appealing to the eye, and has the story of the paralyzed vocal
cords...and with a voice like that...wow.
- You can't not assume to be safe...ever. You have to take
calculated risks...and sing you're a-game every time. If you don't you
- Don't argue with the judges. Big mistake. It shows you can't
handle the criticism and you can't handle the pressure.
- If you have skeletons
in your closet...watch out because people will find them. Antonella
Barba got unwanted national attention when explicit photos of her
appeared on the net.
- And finally... "Don't Forget The Lyrics." This round has been
brutal to people who have.
A few random items to finish the podcast with this week:
- First, I am really looking forward to the premiere of "Ultimate Recipe
Showdown" on the Food Network. Guy Fieri, the winner of the 2nd "Next
Food Network Star" and a find in his own right, co-hosts with Marc
Summers, host and producer extraordinaire. Combine The Pillsbury
Bake-Off with Iron Chef America and this is what you get. The pedigree
on this one looks real good.
- In the "If at first you don't succeed, try try again" department. GSN
is trying again with the interactive game format with GSN Live, debuting
February 25. This
three hour block of games with Fred Roggin and Heidi Bohay looks
promising. We have a toll free number (YES!) as well as online play. We
have a new car, high end prizes and Wink Martindale on it's debut week.
I like the potential of the segments of "The Bonus Round" (where past
game show winners reflect on their experiences...hint hint...I am
available.) and "Behind the Curtain" (which shows how game shows are
made. If this sounds reminiscent of "Club A.M".... that's good. Because
if that's how they do this, we are in for a good time. If it's more like
the bad times of Playmania...watch out. I really hope that they do this
- Next, we have a "Too Little, Too Late" file. In New York, the NBC
Affiliate is moving Crosswords from the 4PM slot, where it was getting
crushed by Oprah and Judge Judy...to the 11AM slot starting February 25,
where it's going to get crushed by The Price isRight and The View. Ellen
is going back to the 4PM slot...to get crushed by Oprah and Judge Judy.
This sounds like switching deck chairs on the Titanic. Crosswords needs
to find a slot to grow on it's own. Don't know if it will happen here in
NY anytime soon.
- Finally, do you think CBS is trying harder to give away $1,000,000
when Drew Carey hosts the first of 6 "Million Dollar Spectaculars" on
February 22? First off, they are going to designate a game as "the
Million Dollar Game" where a million could be won, and if a contestant
bids within $1,000 of the showcase they win both showcases and a cool
mil. Now, I think they are doing this because during all the times of
the Barker MDS, all you had to do was hit the dollar on your bonus spin.
I think they are trying to give more chances and make it a tad easier to
do. I am intrigued.
That's all for this time...this is Jason Block saying...don't just play
fair...play to win.
Block still hasn't made his million yet, but he's
trying. E-mail him at