On the realities of writing TV comedy – But the upbeat attitude could also reflect a less positive trend in the industry: The growing need for content even as competition from low-budget reality TV forces networks to cut corners on writing staffs. These pressures, combined with an influx of aspiring writers willing to work for next-to-nothing, have resulted in an increasing reliance on freelancers, non-union employees, and other precariously employed writers. I was one of them. At the Onion News Network, I earned $50 for each idea accepted. On an extremely good week they might have bought three ideas, but very often it was zero. Still, I was thrilled to just be connected to the Onion. I could have subsisted on the fumes of this enthusiasm alone.