'In the Motherhood': Thanks, but no thanks, for your ideas, mommies!

Cherylhines_l
ABC’s new comedy In the Motherhood, which debuts March 26, will cease incorporating anecdotes from real parents after the Writers Guild of America expressed concern that the net wasn’t compensating people for the submissions. As The New York Times first reported, the WGA blanched at the notion that ABC was soliciting embarrassing tales of parenting woe to help to fill out the single-camera series that stars Cheryl Hines (pictured), Megan Mullally, and Jessica St. Clair as three very different moms. The franchise already had a fan base (it started as a webisode series
starring Chelsea Handler and Leah Remini, sponsored by Suave and
Sprint), so ideas have been pouring into ABC.

Though it certainly wasn’t cash, the producers were offering an attractive incentive: Fans would get a screen credit if the anecdotes were used — a clever, if unorthodox, tactic to get viewers more invested in a new comedy when so few are working today. But that didn’t sit well with the WGA. “This kind of call for submissions is not allowed for in the contract,” says WGA spokesman Neal Sacharow. “It’s not our goal to curtail experimentation, but people who do the work should get paid for it.” These kind of submissions deserve the WGA minimum, he added, which is roughly $7,000.

Rather than address the payment conundrum, ABC will forgo the use of submissions for now — though some will remain intact for the first couple of episodes (for example, the producers incorporated a story from a woman who wrote in about the time she accidentally put a wine cooler in her kid’s lunch box). ABC still plans to honor the ardent viewers who tune in to Motherhood’s six episodes, which is all ABC is producing this season (see Ken Tucker’s review). Says an ABC spokeswoman, “Since the idea for this series was born online, we wanted to make sure we served all those fans. We decided creatively the best use of the site is to build a destination for moms and fans to share their stories and engage with one another. Viewers are encouraged to be part of the community at www.inthemotherhood.com, and will be randomly thanked on-air for doing so each week by the cast.”

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Comments (14 total) Add your comment
  • Carole

    Unions mess everything up.

  • bruno

    what differnce does it make. the network’s already got a slew of ideas from write in they can use anyway, only noew they can say they thought of them themselves…i’m still pissed they recast this show anyway. leah remini and chelsea handler MADE those webisodes. i’m not looking forward to the rehash at all. dear megan mulally: times up. cheryl hines: no one cares. they didn;t on curb your enthusiasm either…

  • Paul

    @Carole:
    Yeah, the 40hr. Week, safe working conditions, and paid lunch hours really do suck.

  • Lia

    Why don’t they just pay the contributing moms their due? All this website sounds like is a way for them to take ideas off the moms using this message board and then not credit them at all.
    I think if people were willing to sign an agreement giving up the rights to their stories just to see their anticdotes on tv, that’s up to them. The Writer’s Guild should butt out

  • weas3kids

    Ridiculous….let a writer try to write better than a mom who has been there and done that. Good luck with that. lol

  • Fatima

    Bruno – Yeah no one cares about Cheryl Hines or Curb. It’s not like it’s been on for multiple critically acclaimed seasons or anything.

  • bruno

    hey fatima,
    don’t get me wrong. i TOTALLY dig curb. i just don’t think cheryl hines made all that big an impact on it…hence me not missing her when larry divorced her…ahem…

  • regina

    I am a mom of two toddlers. I won’t be watching this show. The previews are awful..I can’t stand any of those women…especially the blonde from Best Week Ever.

  • graeme

    That’s too bad. This was a fun idea.

  • stupormom

    The ‘professional’ writers didn’t want to allow input from, uh, actual mothers in the ‘hood. I ask the network one question: how’s that working out for you? Got a hit on your hands?
    Hi networks. Here’s a suggestion to pull this show out of the toilet. Ready? Because I’ve got laundry (changing beds every stinking day due to the second round of pink eye), ironing, meal planning, budget review, Law&Order to watch (cuz you can’t watch it with a kid around), blah blah blah so, get a pen and I’ll say it once.
    Have the much hated reality show. Give some of the non-working moms a shot at writing the show. For scale. I can guarantee we’d be happy with that. Make the writing an online-collaborative process. Get the trades writing about what IS possible in the new technology era.
    Have teams of moms submit scripts, with help from the WGA so they can just be shot. But make the moms primary writers.
    You’ll have a reality series with winners who could use a red carpet walk. :)

  • nikki

    Not a mom, but I was a huge fan of the webisodes and those actresses were actually funny. T. V. Show is corny go back to the webisodes, let the moms write and bring back Chelsea, Leah and Jenny. Even their chemistry was better.

  • supermom

    They paid me for my stories.

  • cedarrockfarm4

    I really enjoyed the webisodes so much that my co-workers were getting online to see what was so funny. I hate that the orginal cast was not added to the ABC 30 slot. I am sorry to say, it’s not good at all. The chemistry on the new show is not working.

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