Warner Bros. will bring the production of “V” to a halt on Wednesday, but why that is happening is something that is being asked and gossiped about since the announcement was made.
The studio, which is looking to air “V” in November on ABC, said the two-week shutdown was nothing more than a chance to help the writers refresh themselves creatively, taking advantage of a later premiere date than normal.
But a fan blog known as Ilana’s “V” Page said there was more to the shutdown than meets the eye. The Writers Guild of America, the site reported, was hearing a dispute between Warner Bros. and original “V” creator Kenneth Johnson that would decide whether or not Johnson would receive a credit on the new series.
“One of my super reliable sources has just informed me that the Writers Guild is having a debate on whether or not ABC’s ‘V’ is a remake or not,” the site said. “According to my source, Warner Bros. is now claiming that ABC’s ‘V’ is not a remake. In other words, WB has retracted everything they’ve stated about a re-imagining of the original ‘V.'”
Ilana’s site is correct: There is a dispute on whether or not “V” is a remake being heard from the WGA, but it has nothing to do with the production hiatus, Johnson told Airlock Alpha. There are problems with some of the episodic scripts and the writers just need a little time to work that out, thus the stoppage.
At the same time, however, Johnson said he would like to keep his name on the show, although there is nothing he can do since the arbitration does not involve him directly, and is completely out of his hands.
Warner Bros. apparently is claiming that the new concept starring Elizabeth Mitchell and Morena Baccarin is so different from the 1980s version created by Johnson that they should no longer have to identify it as a reimagining. By taking Johnson’s name off the show, the studio would no longer be obligated to compensate Johnson anywhere near the level he would’ve been at with a creator’s credit, if at all.
Johnson didn’t want to go into too much detail about the WGA case because it is ongoing, but did confirm there is arbitration going on.
Warner Bros. and ABC have in the past called their concept of “V” a remake of Johnson’s original in both interviews and at San Diego Comic-Con in July.
Hollywood does have a long and storied history with disputes over credits and such. Nearly a decade ago, Fox gave sole creation credit for the series “Harsh Realm” to “The X-Files” alum Chris Carter, and removed all references to the creators of the comic book that the series was based on. Fox later lost that dispute and had to restore the credit of the original creators, although they cancelled the series before that was finalized.