For those who haven't paid attention, here's a Variety update on a possible Writers Guild strike and how it is already affecting the film and television industries. I'll excerpt some of the TV portion for you:
By Nov. 1, nets will have enough episodes of current shows in the can to get them through mid-January. But the February sweeps would be decimated, and new shows would halt production well before they'd filled their initial 13 episode orders.
As a result, an early strike could spell doom for some newer shows struggling in the ratings.
"If Fox has to shut down a show like 'K-Ville' in the middle of filming the seventh episode, they might just decide it makes more sense to simply cancel it," one agent said.
That's because keeping the "K-Ville" sets in place and its cast together would be costly. If the show were a hit, keeping the skein in a holding pattern would make sense, but given its weak early numbers, Fox might simply decide it makes sense to cut and run.
That decision would have a cost, too. TV shows generally need to produce 13 episodes to earn international coin. If shows such as "K-Ville" -- or CBS' ratings-challenged "Cane" or NBC's "Bionic Woman" -- wrap before they get to 13 segs, they'll likely end up a total loss for both the network and the studio that produces the show.
A writers' walkout before Thanksgiving could also cripple pilot season if scribes stay out for several months. While nets have purchased the bulk of their pilot scripts by now, they've seen only a few completed drafts. Most pilot scripts don't come in until late November or early December. An early strike would put pilot season on hold.
There are some observers, however, who think a January strike might make more strategic sense. The TV season would still be hurt, with original episodes of shows running out by late February. Pilot season would still be affected, since nets might be reluctant to lense $4 million pilot segs without scribes available to do rewrites -- especially for comedies. ...