'Weeds' exec-prod Unprofessional, Grossly Irresponsible

by Paul William Tenny

Far be it from me to lecture people about piracy, given my own spotty past (I'm reformed), but this is totally unacceptable behavior from an executive producer and must be strongly condemned. According to TV Squad, Weeds EP Jenji Kohan either in a meltdown of common sense or in an act of utter stupidity that will not be winning any fans amongst her own staff anytime soon, openly wished for her series to be pirated on file sharing networks moreso than it already is. This is the quote that really should upset every single guild writer in town.

Revenue aside, I don't expect to get rich on 'Weeds.' I'm excited it's out there. Showtime is great, but it's a limited audience...if I had my druthers, the whole thing would be available right now.

I hope for her sake she was ambiguously referring to online streaming, but I don't think that's the case here. There are a number of people in the business that give a silent nod and a wink towards illegal file sharing to get their work in front of more eyes, but these people and their work are almost universally small in scope. Tiny documentaries for instance, or like this, shows on pay-channels that nobody has heard of.

The problem of course is precisely what Kohan was talking about when she said "I don't expect to get rich on 'Weeds'." Quite so, and encouraging piracy will only make the situation many times worse. Unlike Kohan who is paid as a writer, producer, and creator, the people working on the writing stuff as her employees that are making a fourth or less than she is are the ones who are going to be hurt even worse by piracy. Pay-channel and cable pay much less than broadcast television does, and writers are already pretty well screwed when it comes to residuals so every dime counts.

To have a fellow writer who also happens to be your showrunner advocate the piracy of your own product that you helped to make and that you depend on for your living is crazy. I would, without a shadow of a doubt, walk out on that show and never work with Kohan again. Don't care if it's in the middle of the season or how good or fun writing for that show is.

If she wants to throw her money in the garbage, so be it. To then burn the money of everyone else around you is ridiculous and unacceptable in any profession.
in Television


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I do not support piracy, and when I stated that I wished all the shows could be available right now, I was refering to LEGAL downloads, but you did not know this as you never bothered to speak to me before calling me names and urging my writers to flee for the hills. Sloppy reporting, and just not nice.

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