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Monday, November 5, 2007

Writers Guild of America on Strike!

Since 12:01 a.m. (EST), all 12,000+ members of the Writers Guild of America have officially been on strike.

In the simplest terms we can muster, the strike is against TV networks and movie studios over writers wanting increased residuals from DVD and internet sales. According to the Associated Press, writers only get about 3 cents on a typical DVD retailing for $20. We're not entirely sure how much money writers are asking for, but WGA member and screenwriter Bryce Zabel said they're asking for eight cents per DVD.

We should add that the issue is more complicated than we explained. And frankly we don't understand it entirely.

But what the strike means for us is that new episodes of the shows we watch and love might not be available.

According to the Chicago Tribune, shows that are written day-to-day, such as The Daily Show, Letterman and The Tonight Show, will be the first to feel the set-back. Repeats of these shows will begin airing immediately.

Prime-time scripted series have episodes through mid-January or early February, depending on how many reruns they space out in the next few months. Unscripted shows -- such as "Survivor," "The Amazing Race," and, when it returns in January, "American Idol" -- would continue uninterrupted.

Here's a look at where many shows stand:

Late Night

"Colbert Report" and
"The Daily Show"
Will go into repeats immediately.
"The Tonight Show" and
"The Conan O'Brien Show"
Will go into repeats immediately.
"Jimmy Kimmel Live"
Staffed with WGA writers, so it would probably go to repeats. But Kimmel could also decide to wing it and do the show himself.
Will remain live and in originals.

Expected to have eight out of 16 episodes ready.
Midseason, none have aired yet
Expected to have 12 out of 13 episodes completed; has not received an order for a full season.
"Men in Trees"
Has five episodes left over from last season, 10 new episodes shot, four more scripts to shoot; adds up to 19 out of 27 for the season.
"Cashmere Mafia"
Will have seven episodes out of an order of 13.
"The View"
Will continue uninterrupted, according to a spokesman.
"Dirty Sexy Money"
Expected have between 11 and 13 episodes completed.
"Brothers & Sisters"
Expected to have either 11 or 12 episodes completed.
"Eli Stone"
Will have 13 of 13 ordered. Midseason premiere date is undetermined.

Expected to have 11 out of 12 episodes completed; has not received an order for a full season.
Expected to complete all 13 episodes; has not yet received an order for a full season.
Will have seven of seven episodes.

"Friday Night Lights"
Expected to complete 15 of 22 episodes.
Expected to complete 12 of 18 episodes.
Expected to complete 13 of 13 episodes; has not yet received an order for a full season.

"Everybody Hates Chris" Expected to complete 22 of 22 episodes.
"Gossip Girl" Expected to complete 13 of 22 episodes.
"Supernatural" Has 10-12 episodes completed;
Those shows also have roughly five scripts that are ready to shoot.
"America's Next Top Model,"
"Beauty and the Geek"
and new shows such as "Crowned" (the mother-daughter beauty contest)
Three of a number of reality shows that have already been ordered up, meaning they are covered for the rest of the season

"24" Will have eight or nine out of 24 episodes completed. Midseason, none have aired yet.

"In Plain Sight"
New show, episodes are nearly wrapped
"Psych" and "Monk"
Enough scripts in hand to guarantee a full second half of each season
"Law and Order: Criminal Intent"
Enough for first half of the season (10); the second half (12) will be affected (meaning not enough scripts to guarantee production start as scheduled.)
"Burn Notice"
Scheduled to start production of Season 2 in January
"Starter Wife"
Scheduled to start production in March

"Stargate Atlantis"
Expected to go on as scheduled.
"Battlestar Galactica"
Has 10 hours of episodes, plus a two hour movie to air this Fall.
Will be affected.

"Thirty Days"
Completed, not expected to be affected.
5th season, the 22 episodes were planned for two cycles: 14 to run from now to February and eight next year. All 14 in the first cycle have been written. So, only the second cycle could be affected.
"The Shield"
The final season is written, no date set for airing.
"Dirt" and "The Riches"
Production is underway, and they could be affected.
"Rescue Me"
5th season, just announced, would be affected since production is expected to start in early '08.
No word yet on whether it would be picked up
"Entourage" and
"Big Love"
Are currently in the writing stages and were scheduled to air in the summer of 2008.
"True Blood" and
"12 Miles of Bad Road"
Have begun production.
"The Wire" Completed and will air as scheduled.
"In Treatment" New series will air as scheduled.

This is the first industry-wide strike since writers walked out in 1988. That strike lasted five months and reportedly cost the entertainment industry $500 million.

Portions of this blog courtesy of the Chicago Tribune Web Edition.