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TV Writers on Strike: Now What?!

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Feb 12, 2005
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So, the Writers Guild of America is on strike, and, not to be selfish, but you’re wondering, “What does this mean for me, a TV fan?†right?

Glad you asked, because, although network execs still seem to be scrambling a bit to figure out exactly how they’ll handle the walkout, here’s what might happen if the strike continues . . .

1. Will your favorite shows be off the air? Not immediately, though they may go into repeats a lot sooner than you would like. The Daily Show, for example, as well as the nightly talk shows with David Letterman and Jay Leno, will go into repeats beginning today, because they’re all staffed with WGA writers. Other scripted shows, dramas like Grey’s Anatomy and sitcoms like The Office, have stockpiled scripts in anticipation of the strike, and should have enough material to keep us in new episodes through January.

2. Are shows like 24 and Lost in Jeopardy? USA Today runs down the many other ways the one-day-old strike has already impacted the TV season, including the cancelation of NBC’s planned Heroes spin-off, a possible postponement of the new season of 24 and a potentially shortened (to eight episodes!) season of Lost.

4. Daytime soaps may be hard hit. AOL TV has more scoop on how the strike will affect the rest of the TV season, including rumors that NBC will air the original British version of The Office during the strike and that daytime soaps could be among the hardest hit by the walkout.

5. More reality TV? And TV Guide has a network-by-network breakdown of what the strike means, and the bottom line is: Get used to lots more reality programming, especially if the strike drags on. If you’re a fan of shows like Grey’s, House and Desperate Housewives, in other words, the news ain’t good. But if you’ve been waiting around for a new batch of Supernanny, rock on.

5. No one knows how long the strike will last. The last WGA strike, in 1988, lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry more than $500 million. So that’s certainly incentive to settle it quickly. On the other hand, the two sides—the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers—are clearly pretty far apart on the issues, which mainly revolve around the writers’ demands for a more equal share in the profits of TV shows from DVD and Internet sales. So, again, no one knows how long the strike will last.