Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hollywood Dictionary: Volume 20

And now, more from the Hollywood Dictionary...

This little piggy went...OH MY GOD!
Packaging Fee (aka "Conflict of Interest Fee") -- Let's explain this with a case study.  A newbie writer repped by CAA has well-written pilot that could easily be a TV show.  But because of her status as an unknown, networks are unlikely to touch it without an experienced showrunner involved.  This is where the fun kicks in.  Rather than seeking out the best showrunner for the job (who just might be repped at WME2), CAA will only look within their client roster.  Why?  To secure additional money for CAA -- a Packaging Fee.  To heck with what works best creatively.  So in the end, it's a bit like matchmaking at a family reunion.  Your cousin may make the best biscuit ever, but be prepared to have offspring with 12 toes.

iPod circa 1928
MOW -- Cluttering your brain with this information is about as useful as explaining what a 78 record is.  But I'll do it anyway because you never know when old will become new again.  Back during the Nixon and Ford administrations, ABC decided use celebs on the downside of their careers to star in made-for-TV movies.  Such projects included people like Bette Davis in Scream, Pretty Peggy and Brenda Vaccaro with Vincent Price in What's A Nice Girl Like You...? ABC soon realized that it was easier and more cost effective to shove these people on to The Love Boat or Fantasy Island.  As a result, the Movie of the Week (MOW) ended up on the endangered TV species list.  If you look hard enough, you can find a few MOWs lurking.  But they're running opposite a Jersey Shore marathon.  Decisions.

Put Pilot -- Apparently this is the point when I run out of funny, so I'll just define it.  It's when a studio sells a pilot to a network with the understanding that if they don't air the show, they have to pay a heavy penalty.  Golly, I can be quite dull.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

as someone who made his living writing prime time TV Movies in the '80's (mostly for ABC, NBC), I have to tell you that your take on why network movies got popular, and then faded from view is, uh, wrong.

You are right in saying that once the two-hour movie format began full force in the mid '70's (as opposed to the 90 minute,exploitative movies Aaron Spelling cranked out for ABC in the '60's) the MOW was developed to service series regulars who didn't have enough time during their hiatuses to shoot a feature film! By the late '80's the network ceded their A list movies to premium cable, and after that, the networks could not sell a second run of the movies to advertisers but were still required to pay the talent/guild members in advance.
Also, once TV went global in the early 90's, small american movies became a hard sell -- which is why Lifetime and Hallmark are virtually the only non- premium cable companies- left. Even Showtime pulled out of the market. Class dismissed...

Post a Comment