Script tardiness easing

DGA reports on-time scripts for single-camera dramas up 61%

The Directors Guild of America said its efforts to ease the problem of late script delivery in episodic TV have begun to pay off.

Guild, which launched its effort two years ago, said the percentage of on-time scripts for single-camera one-hour dramas had increased to 61% for the 2003-04 season, up from 47% in the previous season.

The DGA also said the proportion of scripts delivered more than two days late had been cut to 23% from 41% and the number coming in five to 15 days late dropped to 8% from 20%.

Easing headaches

Rod Holcomb, chair of the DGA’s TV committee, said the response to the campaign has helped alleviate the headaches for directors created when they lack time to do the preparatory work necessary to create well-crafted episodes.

“This has been a real effort on everyone’s part, and the improved data reflects that by jointly addressing this problem, the DGA, the networks and the studios were able to effect significant change in less than two years — getting many more on-time scripts into the hands of directors, leading to higher quality and lower-cost episodes,” he said.

Guild said the writers for eight series — “Star Trek: Enterprise,” “Law & Order,” “The District,” “JAG,” “Judging Amy,” “She Spies,” “Hack” and “Strong Medicine” — delivered all scripts on time in 2003-04. “Six Feet Under” was the only series to deliver all its scripts on time in 2002-03.

Improvement noted

The DGA also said 12 series improved by 20% — “24,” “Alias,” “Angel,” “The District,” “ER,” “The Guardian,” “Hack,” “JAG,” “Judging Amy,” “Law & Order,” “Third Watch” and “The West Wing.” It credited CBS, Fox, Sony, Touchstone, Universal and Warner Bros. with improvement of 20% in the 2003-04 season.

Guild also singled out “Ed” and “The Gilmore Girls” as not delivering a single script on time and pointed to five other shows — “Charmed,” “Everwood,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “NYPD Blue” and “The Practice” — as delivering more than 70% of their scripts late.

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