This is My Life

Getting fired, in the form of a series cancellation, is a fact of life for people working in the TV industry. As an example, The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday on what it's like for the crew of the CBS series THE UNIT to be waiting, and wondering, whether their show is coming back.

If drama is life heightened, then Hollywood's bubble shows mirror much of America right now, where the specter of pay reductions, freezes and immediate unemployment is writ large. In the television industry, the phenomenon is an annual rite as network executives decide which series will be ditched to make room for new projects.

"What the country in general is going through, if you choose to work in Hollywood, you've accepted a life that is constantly like that," said executive producerShawn Ryan, who runs "The Unit" and created the FX cable channel's cop drama "The Shield." 

[…]Executive producer Vahan Moosekian is as familiar with these employment ups and downs as anyone. His four years on "The Unit" is his longest stint on any show during his 33 years in the industry, stability he knows could easily be followed by years of unemployment. With the rise of reality TV and NBC's new 10 p.m. Jay Leno comedy show, there are fewer jobs in scripted television.

I know how Moosekian feels. For years, I used to dream about what it would be like to actually be on a show that came back for a second season. It seems like every show I was on would be canceled during it's first season, or if it came back, I would leave for one reason or another before it happened. It wasn't until DIAGNOSIS MURDER that I discovered what it felt like to be on a show for several years…though we were on the bubble for renewal, not just every season, but every mid-season as well.  

I have never seen things as tough for TV writers as they are now. There are fewer scripted dramas and fewer writer/producer slots on them. Even if you are lucky enough to be on a show that gets renewed, you might not come back with it — every show is trimming expenses and writers are the first to go when networks and studios look to cut costs. 

Then again, it's tough for everybody in every industry right now.

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