“The Office” exec producer Greg Daniels hasn’t worked on the show in any capacity since the strike began, noting that writing plays a role in just about everything a showrunner does.
“All of those decisions have to do with writing,” Daniels said.
And if a showrunner stops, it’s difficult for a series to continue, he adds.
"For a show to keep going without a showrunner, it’s like selling water and white powder and calling it milk,” Daniels said.
With the writers’ grievances centered on Internet residuals, Daniels noted that “The Office” scribes are already well aware of the shift to online media – and what that means to both writers and media corporations.
“We’ve seen the future,” Daniels said. “’The Office’ has received 7 million downloads. It generates the most traffic at NBC.com. We received a Daytime Emmy for webisodes that no one was paid for. The future is very bright for these companies. The CPMs on Internet ads is double what they are for TV.”
Daniels said he believed the studios were motivated to trigger a strike.
“They know there’s a huge pot of money out there, and if they don’t hsare it the profits will be more for them,” he said.
Daniels questions the corporate stance that online runs are “promotional” in nature.
“In a sense, they do promote the show,” he said. “But they’re selling ads on it.”
Pointing to the showrunners marching outside Disney, Daniels said he believed the studios were trying to divide the writers guild between the middle-class scribes and the more established, wealthier exec producer/showrunners.
“What they forget is we were all middle-class writers, and we work with middle class writers,” Daniels said. “When we were in the 10th grade reading Mark Twain and dreaming about writing, it wasn’t about the money.”
Meanwhile, Daniels said he expects his show deal with NBC Universal to be suspended within the next few days.
“Since the show is down, I don’t know why they would continue to pay me,” he noted.
— Michael Schneider