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Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Writers Strike Update: This Could Get Ugly

If things don’t improve soon with negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the networks, we could be saying goodbye to some of our favorite shows by early next year…

On October 18th, the writers will vote on whether to give negotiators authority to strike. If that happens, a strike can be called at any time after the contract expires October 31st.

The last writers strike in 1988 lasted six months.

So what would be the effects of another six-month strike? First, nightly shows like “The Daily Show” and “The Tonight Show” would be affected. Then, comedies and dramas would go into some reruns and then eventually all reruns. There would also be lots more reality shows, game shows and sports. Shows imported from cable and other countries are also possibilities.

Because shows will have a number of episodes in the can, the strike probably wouldn’t be noticeable on the screen until early 2008.

There is another possible outcome here, but it’s even worse. The writers could decide to wait until June to take action since June 30th is when the contracts end for actors and directors. That way they could all strike together.

I told you it was worse…

So what’s the major issue here? Digital media—specifically downloading. Insiders say that writers are ready to fight for a bigger portion of those profits. Carlton Cuse of “Lost,” who is on the negotiating committee, told “USA Today” that there’s a “wide gap” between the parties and that things “will have to change demonstrably in the next few weeks.”

By the way, the strike would also have an effect on movies, causing a smaller slate of new ones at the theater.

As I said, this could get ugly…