TV Shows Slash Scribes to Trim Budgets


Variety reported today that as part of cost-cutting measures mandated by the networks, TV shows are slashing their writing budgets, reducing once-bloated writing staffs sometimes by half (if not more). This blow comes on the heels of a Writers Guild strike that has contributed to a major change in the way the networks develop and staff shows — the concept of “staffing season” as we knew it (or not) is quickly disappearing, along with the multi-million dollar development deals that high-level writers had grown accustomed to.

Back in the day, the average TV drama could easily have a dozen or more writers on staff. These days, the numbers have shrunk to perhaps four — including the showrunner (top dog in the writers’ room). The image above (courtesy features the writers’ room from the hit NBC drama Medium. Variety adds, in its report, that low-level writers who are good may be the safest these days — it’s the mid-level writers who aren’t quite at the exec producer level that are the most at risk, as they’re deemed expendable and expensive.

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