Rings Of Power And GOT Producer Goes On Intense Rant About Why TV Staff Are Underpaid And Undervalued

Sauron in Rings of Power
(Image credit: Prime Video)

Negotiations with the Writers Guild of America are set to commence in a couple of weeks to discuss a new contract and there already seems to be a strong feeling that a writer's strike could be in the future. Bryan Cogman, a producer on Game of Thrones as well as Rings of Power recently took to Twitter with what he believes is one of the reasons that a strike may happen, because the people behind the shows are not being given enough respect.

While not going into specific details regarding the people involved in the show, Bryan Cogman posted to Twitter that a showrunner of a major network show was recently informed that the production could not afford to pay them for the next two months. Considering how vital a showrunner is, and the fact they were still expected to work, despite not getting paid, the producer blew his top, saying… 

Just heard of a show at a major network where the showrunner - the SHOWRUNNER - is being told the production can’t afford to pay her or her assistant for the next two months because the star’s vacation schedule is eating into the budget. Of course, the writing staff was already shown the door months prior. And of course this showrunner/assistant are still expected to show up for meetings if they want, you know… keep RUNNING THEIR SHOW. Just in case you‘re wondering why there might be a strike.

If any of us were told that we weren't going to get paid for two months because the money needed to be spent elsewhere, we certainly would feel unappreciated at the very least. Somebody clearly didn't think we were important enough. It would be one thing if we could take a two-month vacation, but in this scenario, you're still expected to work, just not get paid for the work.

This certainly sounds like an incredible situation. Based on the job title alone the showrunner should be seen as the single most important person working behind the camera. They literally run the show, and yet they’re not being taken care of by the studio producing the show. For Cogman this is simply another example of writers being undervalued, which is part of the problem. He continues…

The idea that the writer is so undervalued in this industry that a fucking show spending millions of dollars on bullshit will conclude that its SHOW. RUNNER. is an expense they can't afford is fucking mind-blowing.

Writers are, without question, one of the vital elements of any TV series or film. Without them, there is simply no story. And yet, whenever the WGA contract comes up for renegotiation it seems to always be contentious. The WGA did strike back in 2007 and in 2017 there were significant fears that a strike could happen, though it ended up being averted. 

The WGA members have felt, especially in recent years, that their compensation has not been what it needed to be, especially as streaming has become such a big part of the media landscape. Improving residuals from streaming is a big part of what the WGA wants from these upcoming negotiations.

From a fan standpoint, we certainly don't want to see a strike. When it happened back in 2007 television was noticeably damaged. Several great shows ended up dying, more due to the writer's strike than the quality of the show itself. At the same time, I think most fans also want the people who write their favorite shows to be fairly compensated for that work.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.