That’s it, it’s all over! After three months of fighting, debating, and picketing, the Writer’s Strike may be over, putting the writer’s back on the job as early as tomorrow. A deal has been put together and endorsed by the leaders of the WGA (Writer’s Guild of America), giving a renewed hope to the three-month stalemate.
Agreements surrounding the focal points of the strike are not as much as the WGA was hoping for, this does set a opportunity for renegotiating the terms at a later date. The main concern over the writers being left out of the profits made from the ‘new media’ market, including internet downloads such as iTunes, has been negotiated to a fixed residual payment for the first two years of the contract. For the third year, the residual payment will switch from a fixed rate to a commission based system with a limit to the amount paid. A general pay raise has also been negotiated, giving writers an average of between 3 and 4% increase until 2011, when the contract runs out.
But enough on the deal, what is happening to our shows!
First and Foremost: Scrubs
As a big fan of the crazy hospital high-jinks at Sacred Heart Hospital, I was one of many fans fearing that the final season of this highly-acclaimed show may never happen. The writer’s strike ending should alleviate these fears as the final six episodes will be written and produced by series creator Bill Lawrence. The main question is how these episodes will be aired. NBC “doesn’t seem.. super-psyched to air the finale” according to Lawrence, but ABC may be able to pick these episodes up and air them on their network. Worst case scenario, the episodes would be released on DVD. More information on the where and when of the final Scrubs episodes will develop as the casts and crews begin production again.
The second season of Heroes is apparently finished. Any new episodes put into production will air as part of the third season beginning this fall. As the show is built around longer story arcs similar to the contemporary layout of comic books, to put only a couple of episodes into production would probably not add to the overall experience of the show.
The current season of Lost just began airing not that long ago, but with only the eight episodes produced before the strike. Executive Producer Damon Lindelof is hesitant about how many episodes can be produced and still aired without extending the show far into summer. A tentative plan of creating five episodes has been discussed, bringing the total of the current season’s episodes up to thirteen of the initial pre-strike plan of sixteen.
NBC Comedies: The Office, My Name is Earl, and 30 Rock
The Office was one of the first shows affected by the strike, shutting down production immediately as a significant part of the main cast are also writers for the show. NBC has confirmed that it is considering extending the season past the usual mark of May in order to air as many episodes as possible. Shows 30 Rock and My Name is Earl will likely follow a similar route as they are generally all aired together as NBC’s comedy night.
ABC’s Power Shows: Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy:
These shows will begin as soon as possible, leaving between four and eight weeks for the shows to get together, hammer out some scripts, produce the show, and distribute it. Estimates range from four new episodes to seven. Agreeing to extend the season will help put out as many episodes as possible.
Possibly the worst off for all of the shows affected by the Writer’s Strike. 24 will likely stay off the air until a mid-season start beginning in January 2009, creating a year and a half gap between episodes. Being unable to have a complete 24 episode season would ruin the concept of the show and cause a story to end mid-season.
The Newbies: Chuck, Bionic Woman, Pushing Daisies, etc.
Most shows that debuted this season and were cut short because of the strike will likely simply begin a second season this fall rather than attempt to complete the season. There is also the possibility of some new shows without immediately high ratings could be dropped and replaced with new shows in the fall. More information will become available as the strike is resolved and networks begin releasing their plans.
CSI and Respective Spin-offs:
All of the CSI shows are expected to release at least a month’s worth of new shows, beginning production as soon as possible.
I will update the information as I come across information regarding other shows. Please note that the actual vote from the WGA has not actually occurred, the hopes are just very optimistic. The deal has been endorsed by the leaders of the WGA, encouraging the success of the vote.