The Writers Guild of America, west President Patric Verrone isn’t worried about NBC’s recently announced plans to devote the 8 p.m. hour to unscripted programming. He just isn’t buying it.
“I genuinely don’t believe it,” he says. “They are going to find it’s not going to work. So we don’t have any formal response.”
The WGA has been clamoring to get union contracts for writers on “reality” shows, most recently staging a large rally in Los Angeles last month in support of 12 striking writers on The CW’s America’s Next Top Model.
And with networks looking to copy the low-risk, high-reward success of shows like ABC’s Dancing With the Stars and Bravo’s Project Runway, the issue is all the more urgent.
But “NBCU 2.0” hasn’t raised any red flags at the WGA, in part because NBC executives have since acknowledged that scripted shows would still lead off certain nights.
“I don’t know what NBC is doing,” Verrone says. “I think they have some really good shows, some quality programming, and all of a sudden, they are writing off an hour a night? I don’t think they will do it.
“They will find that good programming fits at different times of the night, and I don’t think they will find a one-size-fits-all strategy.”