Cheaper by the Dozen

Once again it's a seller's market for those writers who can consistent-| ly produce acceptable material—and, once again, the key word is consis-

tently. Writers not only make good bread, they eat cake—with all the frosting. Not only are there as many sitcoms as before, but each show has realized the need for a squad of writers to maintain quality while maintaining night-crawling deadlines. A team of six writers is standard, but it's becoming increasingly more common to see as many as twelve writers on just one show. This is logical, because the story and the humor are the only variables, once the cast and program premise have been settled upon. And despite the buckets of money Guild writers are paid, they're the least expensive commodity on the show, when you compare actors' salaries, or production and distribution costs.

It isn't unusual for salaries to run as high as $10,000 per week for writers who have hyphenated titles like writer-director or writer-producer. And, of course, TV reruns generate residual payments. There is never a time when reruns of such legendary hits as All in the Family, M*A*S*H, I Love Lucy, and The Jeffersons aren't running somewhere around the globe. In their old age, some writers will have nurses endorsing residual checks.

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