Letter of the month: why Britain can’t do The Wire

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Letter of the month: why Britain can’t do The Wire

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Writers of US shows such as The Wire are "gods because the networks do not own them"

Peter Jukes (November) offers good reasons for America’s television drama being better than Britain’s, but he omits a key problem. In the US, not only is there genuine competition for talent between the networks—both free-to-air and cable—but there are powerful independent distributors that can underpin a show-runner’s position and contribute substantially to the budget. The writer-producers are gods because the networks do not own them—so they can exercise real editorial and creative control, as well as make tens of millions of dollars. In Britain, the dominant distributors are owned by the BBC and ITV. Virtually the only wealthy drama show-runner is Phil Redmond, who made nearly all his cash from the soap Brookside. True, money is made from formats—quizzes, games, “reality”—but these are a far more debased form of creativity.  The incentives

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