The Last Temptation of Game
When it rains it pours for
the little game show that can't.
"Temptation" is suffering
through a bit of growing pains. First off, the show is averaging around
a 0.5 in it's first two weeks on the air. Secondly, it is being replaced
in some markets due to said low ratings.
But most importantly, according to reports in the Hollywood Reporter and
Variety, the Writers Guild of America has held two protests, on
September 18 and 28 against the show Temptation and its parent company
FremantleMedia. They claim that Fremantle has refused to negotiate with
the WGA West branch. Four writers who left the show August 28, had over
100 supporters with them on the 28th. The writers allege unfair working
conditions such as 18 hour days and unpaid overtime.
According to the article, most game show writers do have contracts.
Members of Jeopardy, 1 vs. 100, the Singing Bee and others are covered
under the WGA basic agreement.
But some of the things really struck me here. It does seem to me that
the "Fremantle Four" (as they called themselves) have a bit of a point.
Fremantle and Fox Television were trying to shoot a 38 week schedule of
170 shows in two months. That's about 22 shows a week. You can do
that...a) if you have all the shows ready to go, b) have a tight
schedule and know what you are doing and c) want to work your writers
and staff to the bone.
Millionaire tapes its season in four months. Jeopardy tapes ten shows in
two days. Wheel tapes six shows a day. Price tapes once a day, sometimes
This strike tactic didn't work the last time it was tried. Last year,
non-union members walked out of "America's Next Top Model." The ratings
stayed the same and the walkout was not a success.
But, being who I am, I think I see the bigger picture here. Number one,
this is the first shot in a bigger war that is potentially on the
horizon. The WGA contract expires October 31 and they are trying to see
what muscle they can apply here. I am not sure if they can push
Fremantle into seeing their point.
Secondly, and more importantly, this is just another misstep in the
disaster known as Temptation. Nothing has gone right for this show since
day 1. With bad ratings, a crappy show which was touted as a new one and
now the union protesting, Temptation should be pulled. I know I sound
like a manager pulling a pitcher too early. But I do not believe the
audience is there for a show like this.
It is tempting to say I told you so, but I will just end my column here.
Block knows that an instant bargain in production leaves
little to be desired. Leave some love at