Strike Turns Off TV, But Not Students

To Jordan B. Weitzen ’08, whose Eliot House suite is one of the few on campus with access to satellite television, the television writers’ strike this month has come as something of a blessing in disguise.

“It gives me more time to concentrate on more important things, which is nice with papers and finals coming up,” Weitzen said in a telephone interview.

Across campus, even among the masses whose dorm-room channel selection numbers in the single digits, the Writers Guild of America’s protest calling for greater compensation for content being redistributed online has been met with muted disappointment, and even with some encouragement.

“I support the strike wholeheartedly because it’s going to be the impetus for things in the future, for compensating workers for what they deserve,” said Claudia F. Schreier ’08, a TV watcher, over dinner in Adams House yesterday. “I can find something to do with the hour I have each week.”

But with still no end to the four-week-long strike in sight, fans of “The Office,” “The Colbert Report,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and other popular shows are bracing for an onslaught of reruns. And “Heroes” fans Claire H. Sheldon ’10 and Millicent M. Younger ’10 are not happy.

“We have to wait until February, which was already a disappointment, and now there are only going to be eight episodes,” said Younger, also interviewed in Adams. “We’re pretty angry.”

Brian M. Kaufman ’10, on the other hand, said he empathized with the striking writers, a perspective he said he gained as a writer for student-run HRTV’s “On Harvard Time.”

“Obviously, I would rather the shows be on because they are entertaining, but at the same time...I completely understand that writing a TV show takes a lot work, and not to pay them for their time and effort is just wrong,” Kaufman said.

Some students said they felt less affected by the strike because of the limited viewing selections in most Harvard dorm rooms.

“It’s kind of not affecting us since we don’t have cable,” said Ryan S. Nolan ’09.

However, until Jack Bauer of Fox’s now-suspended “24” makes his comeback, it appears that many students are content to pull themselves off the couch and switch off the dial.

“I don’t care that much,” said Peyton Shieh ’10. “There’s always YouTube.”