Exclusive: ‘X-Files’ EP Frank Spotnitz on ‘self-destructive’ US studios leading ‘assault on writing’

Frank Spotnitz

US producers are being “self-destructive” by refusing to meet WGA demands, Big Light Productions CEO Frank Spotnitz has told TBI here at the Monte-Carlo TV Festival.

As the WGA (Writers Guild of America) strike continues with no sign of an agreement being struck with the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) any time soon, London-based Spotnitz said that the producers’ position is “not just an assault on the economics of the writing process, it’s an assault on quality”.

“Really what the writers are asking for, aside from, you know, proper wages, is the time and the resources to do their job well,” said Spotnitz, who created titles including Leonardo for RAI, The Man In The High Castle for Prime Video and The Indian Detective for CTV, and was a writer and executive producer on sci-fi/horror hit The X-Files.

“Traditionally, American writers have had the best resources and the most amount of time to develop properly. That’s under attack and I think it’s incredibly short sighted and ultimately self-destructive to the producers to take this position.”


Preserving quality

Spotnitz suggested that the situation was complicated in Europe, where writers want to show support to US colleagues, but are not striking.

With major US companies operating and able to continue to produce in European countries, Spotnitz said it was an issue that needed thinking about for the future.

“I think what this strike has taught me is that American streaming platforms are all over the world and we as creators, writers, producers, directors, need to start thinking about ways that aren’t simply national, to preserve quality, and to preserve our ability to do good work.”

Spotnitz added: “The irony here in Europe is writers have never had the time or the resources, they’ve always had to do it despite that. I’ve lived here for 13 years; I’ve thought about this so much.

“What sort of saved writers, especially in the UK, is that they haven’t typically been asked to do eight or 10 episodes, they’ve typically done two, three, four or six – and they haven’t typically worked with hard deadlines. So that’s helped them.”

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