Can Quarterlife Survive During The Strike?

by Paul William Tenny

quarterlife.jpgThere has been some talk recently that Internet-only series Quarterlife may be bought by NBC and presumably reproduced for airing on the network after all its own shows run out of original episodes to air, sometime in or after January. That article isn't the first to suggest this and I really don't know anything about the show or the probabilities of such a thing going forward, but it did raise an interesting proposition.

How can it all work and how will it be affected by the strike, after it's bought?
I again presume that the people behind this show would love to have it picked up by a network as much as they'd like to have any show of theirs picked up by a network, but what are the ramifications of that? At least some of the people behind the show are industry pros and know how the game is played and what the rules are. Anyone (WGA member or not) can write and produce shows (even full length) for the Internet and not run afoul of WGA rules because they don't have jurisdiction in that area yet.

Moreover, when you produce content for a non-signatory to the guild contract (like producing it for yourself) you aren't bound by their rules either. Quarterlife as it stands right now is kosher, and NBC can buy it and air it and still be kosher. They can even re-shoot the entire show with better equipment and still be in the green, so long as they don't try to get anyone to rewrite the scripts.

What then? What if it turns into a success and NBC wants more, but there is still a strike? NBC is a signatory so once they own the show, nobody can write for it until after the strike ends, which kind of defeats the purpose of using it to fill the gap created by the strike itself.

I'm no expert on these matters so maybe I'm just missing something, but this doesn't seem worth the effort to me.
in Labor, Streaming Video, Television


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