"It was $2000 per show and then they found a loophole to knock it down to..."
Dovetailing a recent column he wrote for Sports Illustrated about his feelings after watching the end of the television show, "Friday Night Lights," Buzz Bissinger spoke with 790 AM in Atlanta about why he felt ill will toward NBC.
I really only pass this along because it's interesting to note the contrast with the six and seven figure deals reported for major stars of television, like when Jerry Seinfeld supposedly turned down $5 million an episode to continue with his television show. "Friday Night Lights" never came anywhere close to the ratings success of "Seinfeld" and it turns out Bissinger had to fight for any morsel of credit for the concept along with a 4 figure thank you note.
Keep in mind that when Bissinger says "suits," he's referring to the slang term for corporate executives and not a legal action:
"When the movie rights were sold for Friday Night Lights, so were the television rights.
I basically was kind of marginalized by the suits in the legal department of NBC Universal. They fought me for months on the idea that I deserved no credit, which was completely absurd.
I mean, I was the originator of the material. Thematically, the TV series was very much based on the book.
They definitely fictionalized it and I know why they did it. They did it because they were afraid of getting sued by someone who had been in the book but once they did that, how are you going to feel? You're going to feel lousy.
This is what elitist executive suits do and there's no surprise that NBC Universal is in the tank.
Everyone thinks I became fabulously rich off this television show. The royalty I got per episode was minimal.
It was $2000 per show and then they found a loophole to knock it down to $1500 per show.
It's nice money to have, but it ain't a lot of money.
I was really hurt by their stance. It was humiliating. Here I am begging basically and having my lawyer fight with their lawyers to get credit for something that, you know, there would've been no television series without me. There would've been no movie without me. There would've been nothing without me.
They waste tens of millions of dollars on actors and bad movies but when it comes to the true creators, they treat them terribly and I didn't want to be any part of it.
Why should I let them pick my brain if they're not going to compensate me or even give me credit?
They finally did and they only did because of the intercession of Pete Berg, who was my cousin, and his producing partner, Sarah Aubrey."
Bissinger praises his cousin and everyone involved in the creative process for what he considered a great show and reserves all his venom for the "higher ups" who tried to marginalize his value to the endeavor.
Smart move by NBC. Why would they want to compensate and more closely associate themselves with a Pulitzer Prize winning author anyway?