February 23, 2019

Bangor grad went to bat for actors in writers strike

This is a very uncertain time for Bangor native Melinda Hsu Taylor.

Taylor, a 1988 Bangor High School graduate, found herself in the middle of this year’s most prominent strike, that by the Writers’ Guild against TV production studios.

As studios have found new ways to cash in on TV programs, such as Internet viewings and DVD sales, the writers wanted their piece of the pie, which they got to some degree.

“We’re going to participate in the Internet profits,” explained Taylor, 37, from her Los Angeles home. “[‘Daily Show’ host] Jon Stewart explained it best. Let’s say you work at a McDonald’s and shared in the profits. Then the owner put in a drive-through window, and said that you couldn’t have any of those profits. Well, now we’ve got a little piece of the drive-through business.”

Taylor got more closely involved with the strike than she would have planned, as her colleagues at her current show, ABC’s “Women’s Murder Club,” voted her strike captain in absentia while she was at a doctor’s appointment.

“Actually, it was a really fulfilling experience,” explained Taylor, an executive story editor. “I got to meet a lot of the other strike captains and make new connections.”

The strike made for a rather odd social gathering.

“My co-workers and I really bonded,” Taylor said. “We’d go out to the picket lines [at ‘WMC’ studio 20th Century Fox] every day. I wound up meeting people I wouldn’t have otherwise, from other Fox shows.”

Once the strike ended, writers and show executives found themselves picking up the pieces. Some shows got cancelled, while others got endorsements.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now,” said Taylor, who previously wrote for the shows “Medium” and the aptly named “Vanished.” “Usually there’s more pilots [now], and more certainty about what shows are returning.”

The ensemble mystery “Women’s Murder Club,” based on a series of books by James Patterson, stars Angie Harmon, Paula Newsome, Aubrey Dollar and Laura Harris. It’s on the bubble, after originally airing on Friday nights, when it’s next to impossible to gain the younger demographic so favored by advertisers.

ABC have given the show’s executives one more chance to raise its ratings, with airings at 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, May 6 and May 13. “WMC” does follow one of ABC’s few hits, the “Dancing with the Stars” results show.

“We’re very hopeful about that,” Taylor said. “We hope to attract a younger following, which we’d like to bring to the show.”

ABC will announce its fall schedule during the week of the third “WMC” episode, so the pressure is on.

Meanwhile, Taylor finds herself somewhat in limbo.

“I’d love to go back for a second season of ‘Women’s Murder Club,’ but I’ve put feelers out in the meantime,” she said. “It’s a fluid process.”

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