TV or not TV… ?

A quote from Shakespeare I think, but the basic idea behind it is that a dark hour is upon us. The Writers Guild of America is going to strike, immediately. At stake is a slightly higher portion of DVD (from 4 cents per disc to 8 cents) and new (online) media sales. A total amount of under $100 million a year (divided over some 12.000 writers), that the industry is not willing to budge on (earning $24.4 billion last year alone on domestic DVD sales, so we’re talking about a total of less than %1).
Last time this happened was in 1988 (a 22 week duration), and it left me scarred. For instance, Star Trek: The Next Generation has a 2 month season premiere delay, and produced The Child (a recycled script from ST: Phase II) and the most horrible episode ever in Star Trek history, flashback clip show Shades of Gray. So deservingly, the industry lost an estimated $500 million income (less advertisement sold, 10% declined viewership). And I wasn’t a savvy TV watcher back then anyway.
But now that I am, the direct impact will be:
– Immediately, no more late night shows. Colbert, Jay, Conan, they’ll be off the air, as late night shows depend the most on writers.
– Soon, no more sitcoms, as they rely a lot on on-set rewrites.
– No nicely finished TV seasons. Most shows have some 5 episodes in the post production pipeline, and maybe a few scripts ready to shoot. But come Jan/Feb 2008, it’s bye bye scripted television, hello news, game and reality shows.
– Canceled new running shows. Good shows with low ratings will never get a chance to grow into surprise hit shows.
– Canceled new upcoming shows. Heroes: Origin seems to be a victim already, put on indefinite hold before scripts have been written (but promised to advertisers a few months ago, to lure in advertisement money for a mid 2008 launch)
– If the strike takes long enough, say goodbye to pilot season. Next year will run on current shows, including the horrible ones that should’ve been axed.

tv test screen

Are you as scared as I am ?

Update: It was unclear what multitalented actors/writers/producers/directors would do during the strike (since their added SGA/DGA allegiance), but big names like J.J. Abrams, James L. Brooks and Tina Fey joined the picket lines, while stars like Jay Leno and Julia Louis-Dreyfus showed up for support.

Update2: Next victim: 24. No 7th season for this TV season (about 1/3 filmed though). Fox bets on safe and moves it to the next TV season.

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