Category Archives: Television

Can media conglomerates afford to pay the writers?

As someone who hopes to be in the WGA one day, and as a current SAG member (and former member of the Board of Directors) I am in complete and total solidarity with the Writer’s Guild. It’s quite heartening to me, also,  to see that so many people refuse to be fooled by the lies that the six companies who control all of the media have been trying to spread.

The AMPTP has been successful (and helped by the news media they own) in spreading FUD about the things the writers are asking for. This post at United Hollywood puts some important numbers into perspective:

"But can the corporations really afford to pay you what you’re asking for?"

set aside for the moment the issue of what the congloms say in their
press releases to us (which is basically "There’s no money! Ever! And
if there was, we spent it all on other projects that lost money so it’s
gone! Forever! We’re broke! We’re having to rent our yachts!") and focus on some hard numbers thoughtfully provided by Jonathan Handel on the Huffington Post yesterday.

writes an excellent (I think) and even-handed analysis that takes into
account the effect pattern bargaining will have in calculating real
numbers of what we’re asking for, and what it will cost the companies,
individually, to pay us.

It comes, by his calculation, to $125 million per conglomerate per year — if we got every single thing we’re asking for.

That, by the way, is less than the $140 million Disney spent to fire Michael Ovitz for 15 months of work.

Also, Carson Daly is still an epic douche.

Also, also:

And finally, a meager contribution from the actor half of me:


186, and some other NUMB3RS

The good news is that I packed and labeled 186 books to be shipped. Of  those 186, about 30 are international orders that still need customs forms and postage, but the rest are ready to go. This brings us to the bad news, which is that I just finished now, an hour after the post office closed, the day before a holiday. So if you were in the first 186 and you’re in the US, your book will ship Friday morning. If you were in the first 186 and you’re somewhere other than the US, it will ship by Saturday. (According to my fuzzy math and hazy memory, the first 186 would be between noon and 2pm PST on Sunday, if you’re wondering.)

Ryan’s coming home for Thanksgiving, so I think I’ll have non-computer priorities until he goes back to school on Sunday, so this is a weekend farewell from me. Thanks for being part of an awesome (if short) week, and if you’re traveling in the next few days, I hope it’s as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible. Airborne is sugary crap; take Emergen-C. And wash your hands. A lot.

Oh! I keep forgetting to mention: I’m on NUMB3RS this Friday night. The episode is called "Graphic." I’ll have a post at TV Squad about working on the show sometime on Friday.

Colbert Report writers on the strike

Yesterday, The Daily Show writers gave us their take on the WGA strike, and today the writers from The Colbert Report share some Truthiness:

Quoth John Scalzi: This is why it’s not smart to get into a snit fight (or labor dispute) with a writer. Because they write. Which means they know how to make you look bad.

Not the Daily Show explains the writer’s strike

If I haven’t made it clear already, I fully support the Writer’s Guild of America. I’m happy to note than a clear majority of Americans does, too.

If you’re unclear on the main reasons the WGA is on strike, allow one of the writers from The Daily Show to explain it.

Uh, you should actually watch it, uh, anyway, even if you already understand the issues behind the strike, because it’s the closest we’re going to get to The Daily Show for quite some time, I fear:

Man, I miss The Daily Show. Those guys are awesome writers, and they deserve better than they’re getting from the AMPT.

a different perspective on numb three ers

The art department at Numb3rs created the best fake comic convention I’ve ever seen for last week’s show. The level of detail was phenomenal, including things like a stack of flyers welcoming participants to the con, booths from Wizkids, and WOTC, and appearances by several different real life comic creators.

One of those comic creators, Tony Fleecs (In My Lifetime, POSTCARDS: True Stories that Never Happened) talked to the comic podcast Word Balloon about his experiences on the set. It’s an enjoyable listen for comic readers, and people who just want to know what it’s like to be on the set of a television show from the perspective of someone who doesn’t work in the TV industry every day. He also said some nice things about me, which made my sugar hangover a little more bearable.

(Thanks to reader Ethan J., for the link!)

a bit more about my episode of Family Guy

So recording Family Guy yesterday ranks in the top five most awesome moments of my acting and geek lives.

Seth MacFarlane directed my session, and when I met him, I said, "Okay, I’m not even going to try to pretend to keep it cool. I am a huge fan, and this is more exciting for me than I can quantify."

Yeah, I said quantify. I say stupid shit like that when I’m giddy and excited.

"Well, if you’re going to do that," he said, "then I’ll have to tell you that Next Generation is my favorite of all the Star Treks, and I’ve seen every episode about a thousand times. The First Duty is just great, man."

I did my best not to faint.

We had a meeting of the mutual admiration society for a few minutes, and then I went into the booth to record my lines. It was incredibly fun and creatively fulfilling, and even though we only worked together for fifteen or twenty minutes, I instantly liked him. He reminded me of my friends from ACME, and I hoped I earned another bit on the show at some point in the future, because he was really fun to work with.

When I was finished recording, I asked him if I could talk a little bit about my episode on my blog, without giving away too many details, and he said that would be fine, so . . .

I play myself, in a story that you could call a tribute to Next Generation. Pretty much everyone from the cast is on board for the episode, and holy shit is it funny.

I can’t divulge any specific story details, or give away any jokes, but there’s a joke with me that, if it makes it to the final cut of the episode, could quite possibly be the funniest thing I’ve ever done on television.

The show will air in about a year, I guess, and I can’t wait to see it.

a preview trailer for the TNG box set special features is online

The Really Super-Awesome Trust Us You Totally Need To Have This One Even If You’ve Already Bought All The Other Ones DVD box set for Star Trek: The Next Generation is about to hit stores, and I got a chance yesterday to see a preview of the special documentaries John de Lancie and I shot, in this preview trailer at Star Trek dot Com.

If you are totally into TNG and don’t already own any of the seasons on DVD, I suppose it’s competitively priced at $40 or so per season. Otherwise, I think it’s grossly overpriced.

If you already own the good seasons (3-5, IMHO) you’re pretty much looking at this for the special features disc, which according to TV Shows on DVD contains:

  • The Next Generation‘s Impact: 20 Years Later
  • The Next Generation‘s Legacy: 2007
  • Star Trek Visual Effects Magic: A Roundtable Discussion
  • Select Historical Data 1
  • Inside The Star Trek Archive
  • Intergalactic Guest Stars
  • Alien Speak
  • Select Historical Data 2
  • Inside Starfleet Academy Archives: Sets and Props
  • Special Profiles
  • Dressing The Future

So that looks pretty awesome to me, and I guess there are lots of specials added to each disc, including stuff that was once exclusive to Best Buy or something like that, but it still feels way too expensive to me with a suggested retail price of $440. I mean, WTF, CBS?

(Thanks to WWdN reader L.E.M. for the links!)

West Coast – I’m on WPT tonight

just found out that I’m on the World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel tonight. It’s the WPT Invitational from Commerce Casino, where I outlasted all the other celebrity players and finished 23rd to land $10,000 for City of Hope. I doubt I’ll get much screen time, but my friend Burns! just called Anne to tell her that he saw me.

So . . . now you know! If anyone gets an mpeg or something, let me know and I’ll link it up.

Update: WWdN:iX reader Andrew sent me the following captures:

XviD (9 MB)

mpeg2 (30MB)

It ‘s a great segment. I got a lot more camera time than I expected, and so did Darwin!  If anyone wants to seed .torrents, let me know and I’ll update again. Thanks, Andrew!

(image via Dr. Pauly)

broke the bonds and loosed the chains


If more Americans read books every night instead of watching TV, we’d live in a more productive society. If more Americans watched the news and read real newspapers and magazines, instead of crappy programs like American Idol, then I’m confident that George Bush would not be our president. But heck, that’s what our leaders really want deep down… a mindless, uneducated populous that will work 40 hours a week so they can earn enough money to buy things to keep them distracted from the evil deeds that our leaders and suits in Fortune 500 companies are conducting everyday under your noses.

Amen. It’s interesting to think of turning off the television and being less of a consumer as an act of rebellion, but I think Pauly has a valid point, at the very least worthy of consideration if not action. I know how happy and free I feel after cleaning a bunch of needless stuff out my house (and life) recently, and since I’m not completely overwhelmed by stuff that is ultimately not that important, I feel like I can address various mental and spiritual aspects of my life that need attention, now that I’m not constantly battling with a huge pile of material bullshit on a daily basis.

I’ve been making an effort to turn off the TV, walk away from the Internets, turn on the radio, and read lots of books. It’s nothing heady — I just finished Monster Island, and I’m in the first third of Cell — but I agree with Pauly. Reading activates and nourishes a different part of my brain than watching TV, even if it’s not Hemmingway or Feynman or something weighty. It also makes me want to write more, which is something I sorely need.

I’ve also made an effort over the last few weeks to unplug, and get out of the house every day, even if it’s just out into my yard, or my patio garden. Anne and I have been getting out of the house and walking like crazy, in preparation for the marathon this weekend (you can still sponsor our team here), and though we’re down to the “easy” six mile walks this week (we’re just tuning up to walk a half marathon, instead of running a full one, remember), it’s still great to get out of the house and breathe deeply for a couple of hours every morning. All the flowers in our neighborhood are in bloom, too, so it’s almost like walking through the best flower shop in the world, but it’s also filled with birds and those really friendly people who get up early to walk during the week.

My soul still needs nourishment, and my life is still out of Balance, but I’m getting closer to finding it. I think all this physical pain in my hip and up my back and on my shoulders is a physical manifestation of my current disarray, and I’m glad my body finally forced me into tuning up my diet and getting more exercise, both physical and psychic.

two burning questions, answered

Question the first: What if comic geeks re-enacted comic book battles the same way history geeks re-enact Civil War battles? Answer: Re-Enacting Marvel Secret Wars. (via Wired)

Question the second: What would happen if the Enterprise D battled with the original Enterprise? Answer: Sci-Fi Battles: Kirk vs. Picard (Thanks, Columbo!)