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Writer's Guild Of America Goes On Strike


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Writer's Guild Of America Goes On Strike

November 5, 2007

The Writer's Guild of America has gone on strike- so what does this mean to us, the viewers? Do you support the writers and how will this affect your own personal tv viewing? This is an important tv-related topic which definitely affects Morty's members because some of our favorite shows most like will have to go on hiatus once their scripted episodes run out.

The first affected will be late night talk shows such as The Tonight Show (which has already said they will go immediately into re-runs due to the strike), David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel.

Next will be soap operas (I can almost picture all the horrified faces right now) and then other shows.

Think The Office (NO!), Heroes, House, Ugly Betty, 30 Rock, Grey's Anatomy, etc., etc...

The shows that will be the least affected will be reality shows, which means expect a boatload of them come January. Also sitting pretty right now is LOST, which is set to begin in February and already has most of it's episodes written (minus two). 24 also has many of its episodes written as well. That being said, however, all scripted shows will definitely run out of new episodes unless an agreement is worked out with the Writers Guild.

...And that, my friends, means I will be doing alot more book reading, bike riding, movie watching and sleeping...and that actually might be a good thing! How 'bout you?

If you want more info on the strike and its ramifications, here are a few links to visit:

Forbes

what shows will be affected by writer's strike- showbuzz

EOnline's Ask Kristin (scroll half way down)

CNN

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I agree- I support the writers because I do think they have some valid grievances. However, that doesn't mean I'm not going to be really sad if The Office, House, Heroes and LOST eventually have to shut down production! :cry: I also know of some rabid soap opera fans who will be weeping buckets of tears- I will not be one of them, however.

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I was a soaps junkie for years.......about 5 years ago I just stopped watching. I got so tired of the story-lines! I got tired of the people getting killed off and then coming back from the dead.

I'll miss some of the late-night shows. I support the writer's strike. I hope it gets settled soon. JMHO :pixiedust:

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TV Writers on Strike: Now What?!

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'30 Rock' Actress and Writer Tina Fey

on the front lines of the Writers Strike

So, the Writers Guild of America is on strike, and, not to be selfish, but you're wondering, "What does this mean for me, a TV fan?" right? Glad you asked, because, although network execs still seem to be scrambling a bit to figure out exactly how they'll handle the walkout, here's what might happen if the strike continues . . .

1. Will your favorite shows be off the air?

Not immediately, though they may go into repeats a lot sooner than you would like. "The Daily Show," for example, as well as the nightly talk shows like "Late Night with David Letterman" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," will go into repeats beginning today, because they're all staffed with WGA writers.

Other scripted shows, dramas like "Grey's Anatomy" and sitcoms like "The Office," have stockpiled scripts in anticipation of the strike, and should have enough material to keep us in new episodes through January.

2. Are shows like "24" and "Lost" in Jeopardy?

USA Today runs down the many other ways the one-day-old strike has already impacted the TV season, including the cancellation of NBC's planned "Heroes" spin-off, a possible postponement of the new season of "24" and a potentially shortened (to eight episodes!) season of "Lost."

3. Will Daytime Soaps be hard hit?

Daytime soaps may be hard hit. AOL-TV has more scoop on how the strike will affect the rest of the TV season, including rumors that NBC will air the original British version of "The Office" during the strike and that daytime soaps could be among the hardest hit by the walkout.

4. More reality TV?

And TV Guide has a network-by-network breakdown of what the strike means, and the bottom line is: Get used to lots more reality programming, especially if the strike drags on. If you're a fan of shows like "Grey's Anatomy," "House" and "Desperate Housewives," in other words, the news ain't good. But if you've been waiting around for a new batch of "Supernanny," rock on.

5. Does anyone know how long the strike will last?

No one knows how long the strike will last. The last WGA strike, in 1988, lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry more than $500 million. So that's certainly incentive to settle it quickly. On the other hand, the two sides are clearly pretty far apart on the issues.

The two sides

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TODAYS NEWS: MY TAKE

Striking Writers' Hit The Office and Others Hard

Get your scorecards handy, because this is only the beginning of the strike-related fallout you'll wanna keep track of:

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The writers' strike will take an immediate toll on television viewers' favorite programs, dealing a setback to shows that are written day-to-day -- such as Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" -- as well as scripted programming already underway or about to go into production.

Soap operas would theoretically start disappearing from the airwaves soon, since most have episodes to last them only until the end of the year. But during the 1988 strike, producers wrote in place of striking writers, and soaps stayed on the air.

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," "The Daily Show" and "Saturday Night Live" 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.

"Nightline"

Will remain live and in originals.

ABC

"Lost"

Expected to have eight out of 16 episodes ready. Midseason, none have aired yet

"Cavemen"

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.

CBS

"CSI: Miami"

Will have 13 out of 24 episodes completed.

"Moonlight"

Expected to have 11 out of 12 episodes completed; has not received an order for a full season.

"Cane"

Expected to complete all 13 episodes; has not yet received an order for a full season.

"Jericho"

Will have seven of seven episodes.

NBC

"Medium"

Will have nine of 22 episodes completed.

"30 Rock"

Has nine out of 22 episodes completed, with several days of shooting for the 10th episode scheduled for this week.

"Friday Night Lights"

Expected to complete 15 of 22 episodes.

"Scrubs"

Expected to complete 12 of 18 episodes.

"Journeyman"

Expected to complete 13 of 13 episodes; has not yet received an order for a full season.

CW

"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

Fox

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

USA

"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

Sci-Fi

"Stargate Atlantis"

Expected to go on as scheduled.

"Battlestar Galactica"

Has 10 hours of episodes, plus a two hour movie to air this Fall.

"Eureka"

Will be affected.

FX

"Thirty Days"

Completed, not expected to be affected.

"Nip/Tuck"

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.

"Damages"

No word yet on whether it would be picked up

HBO

"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.

Showtime

"Dexter," "Weeds," "Californication" and "Brotherhood" Have ended or will be ending their season runs.

"The Tudors" Second season returns in late March, completed production Nov. 1 on 12 episodes.

A new Tracey Ullman series Five-episode series is shot.

-- L.A. Times

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Courtesy of: ZAP2IT, WRITERS STRIKE

WGA Strike: Shows Shutting Down

Sitcoms go dark; studios suspend production deals

November 7, 2007

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Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammer of 'Back to You'

As TV and film writers and their employers dig in for a potentially long strike, production is grinding to a halt.

Writers are in their third day of pickets Wednesday as they strike over residual payments for work distributed over the Internet and other issues. Rank-and-file scribes have been joined by a large number of writing-producing showrunners, and their presence has helped lead to the shuttering of a number of shows.

Several multi-camera sitcoms, whose writers tend to be on set every day, have already gone dark, among them CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men" and FOX's "'Til Death," according to various reports. Another FOX show, "Back to You," was supposed to come back from a planned hiatus on Wednesday, but instead will stay closed.

Elsewhere, "How I Met Your Mother" is shooting this week, as are a number of single-camera shows, including NBC's "My Name Is Earl" and "Scrubs" and ABC's "Carpoolers," which is finishing its 13-episode order this week. Work on NBC's "The Office," however, has been disrupted as several cast members, including Steve Carell, B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling -- all of whom have also written episodes of the show -- walked the picket lines.

On the other side, the major studios connected to all five broadcast networks are planning to suspend deals with production companies, stopping payments to writers and producers as well as their development and support staffs. Companies without shows in production are likely to be hit first.

The thinking on both sides is that drying up the flow of content (on the writers' side) and money (the studios) will help bring them back to the negotiation table. No new talks between the Writers Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV GUIDE EDITOR'S BLOG, STRIKE WATCH

Galactica Boss: Without Strike, Studios Would "Rape and Pillage"

Ronald D. Moore says that if WGA members had not gone on strike to fight for their rightful piece of the DVD/Internet pie, studios would have continued to "rape and pillage."

Speaking to IGN.com, the Battlestar Galactica show-runner cites the experience he had with the BSG "Resistance" webisodes that preceded Season 3. After fighting to get some form of extra compensation for the content, he says Universal told him, "We're not going to put any credits on it. And we can use it later, in any fashion that we want."

When Moore then refused to hand over the produced material, it was seized anyway. "That experience," he says, "showed me what this is all about. If there's not an agreement with the studios that specifically says, 'You have to pay us a formula for use of the material' and this is how it's all done, the studios will simply rape and pillage."

Posted by TV Guide Staff 11/8/07 4:04 PM

Jenna Fischer: The Office Was About to Shoot its "Funniest" Episode

This is the kind of thing that really makes the writers' strike sting. In a new message on her MySpace page, Jenna Fischer says The Office has only two episodes left to air, and that the next one they were about to shoot

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Strike Update: Agents Step In

Agency bigwigs meet with guild to try to restart talks

By Claudia Eller, Richard Verrier and Andrea Chang, LA Times

November 9, 2007

'Lost' executive producer Damon LindelofFour days after Hollywood's first major strike in nearly 20 years began, pressures are mounting to get writers and the major studios back to the bargaining table.

On Thursday, leaders from the industry's top five talent agencies met in secret with guild leaders at the Writers Guild of America's office to offer their help and share a litany of concerns about how the strike was affecting their clients, according to five people with knowledge of the meeting.

Talks between writers and major studios broke off Sunday, mainly over payments for shows that are rerun on the Internet and other new media. Negotiations have not resumed.

Eager to jump-start that process and offer their expertise, top agents from William Morris, International Creative Management, Creative Artists Agency, United Talent Agency and Endeavor met Thursday with top guild leaders, including chief negotiator David Young and union President Patric M. Verrone.

Among other things, agents have offered to be a "collective resource to the union," lending their expertise to help frame the issues that are at the center of the dispute with studios.

"We're the closest professional partners they have because we represent the interest of writers every day," one top agent said.

Several agents said they had been inundated this week with calls from clients worried about their livelihoods. Many TV writers and producers received letters from studios and networks this week suspending their services.

The agents and the guild wanted to keep the meeting under wraps because of the highly charged nature of the dispute with the studios, said people familiar with their thinking.

The guild has so far resisted offers by agents and politicians to help broker a peace, according to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and others.

Talent agencies have plenty of incentive to help end a strike. They depend on commissions and "packaging fees" they earn from TV shows they help put together. The strike that began Monday already has cut into the agencies' potential revenue. Some are slashing travel and entertainment expenses.

At the same time, the studios were bringing their own pressure to bear on the guild and its members. Early in the week, the companies began sending suspension notices to those who work for TV production companies they finance that are typically run by writer-producers, sending chills through industry ranks. Then they warned writer-producers, known in the industry as show runners, that they faced termination if they failed to carry out their production duties.

Many top show runners have refused to cross picket lines. In an apparent attempt to pressure them to return to work, CBS Corp., 20th Century Fox Television and NBC Universal sent "breach-of-contract" letters to several dozen writer-producers of their shows.

The CBS Paramount letters threatened to stop payment for producer services and to pursue legal action if the writer-producers continued to stay off the job. The Fox studio letters also notified writers that they were in default of their contracts. "You did not report to work . . . to render your non-writing services," stated the letters, which went out Wednesday night. "Twentieth Century Fox Television is hereby notifying you that the terms of your agreement are immediately suspended."

Walt Disney Co.-owned ABC Studios sent out letters to writer-producers this week warning them they needed to show up.

On Wednesday, more than 100 show runners of some of TV's biggest shows -- including "Desperate Housewives," "The Office" and "Lost" -- staged a rally outside Disney's studio lot in Burbank. After the rally, they met for lunch at the nearby Smokehouse restaurant before convening a meeting at WGA headquarters.

Some who attended the 3 1/2 -hour meeting described it as very intense and emotional at times, with show runners talking about the difficulty of being caught between their union and their studio bosses. Ultimately, though, there was a consensus that show runners should support the cause by stopping work. Already, production has halted on such top series as "The Office," "Desperate Housewives" and "Two and a Half Men."

"If we want this strike to be short, we need to stop work across the board," said Pam Veasey, executive producer of "CSI: NY."

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV GUIDE EDIT'S BLOG, STRIKE WATCH

When Will Your Fave Shows End?

There seems to be little doubt that the writers strike will result in a shorter TV season, but just how short are we talking? Well, as you might've guessed, it varies from show to show. Those programs that are either highly efficient (Friday Night Lights) or entered the season with a backlog of episodes (i.e. Men in Trees, Law & Order SVU) will be in originals well into 2008. However, series with tighter production schedules (i.e. nearly every half-hour comedy) will go dark almost immediately. To find out how many episodes remain in your favorite shows' arsenals, put away your calculators and head over to the Ausiello Report. A hand-dandy cheat sheet awaits you. (EDIT: see below)

Posted by TV Guide Staff 11/9/07 7:46 PM

Ellen DeGeneres Defends Her Crossing of Picket Line but Still Gets Dissed

Today on Ellen, DeGeneres will defend her decision to cross the WGA picket line and continue with her show. But to at least one former associate, the choice is simply indicative of DeGeneres' overall dismissive attitude toward underlings.

"I love my writers... I support them and hope that they get everything they're asking for. And I hope it works out soon," Ellen says in a transcript of the telecast cited by Page Six. "In the meantime, [audience members] have traveled across the country. They're here. I want to do everything I can to... give you a show."

A former writer for The Ellen Show, however, in a blog for SurgicalStrikes.com, says, "I'm disappointed in Ellen but not surprised... given what I've seen from her with my own two eyes. We'd watch her in rehearsals, smiling and winning us over with her charm and comedic timing. Then the director would yell cut... and she'd level a glare at the writers."

DeGeneres' rep did not respond to Page Six's request for comment.

Where do you stand on Ellen's decision to have the show go on?

More strike coverage:

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV GUIDE EDITOR'S BLOG, STRIKE WATCH

Lost's Damon Lindelof: "Things Have Gotten Ugly"

In a 1,095-word op-ed piece for the New York Times, Lost cocreator/head writer Damon Lindelof weighs in on the WGA strike and "the guild's desire for a portion of revenues derived from the Internet." Lost, for example, "has been streamed hundreds of millions of times [on ABC.com], yet the writers get 'nothing' from the sale of surrounding ad content. We're also a hit on iTunes. Again, we get nothing."

Lindelof warns, "If this strike lasts longer than three months, an entire season of television will end this December," and any new series won't arrive until 2009. He describes himself as "angry because I am accused of being greedy by studios that are being greedy. [My] greed is fair and reasonable.... The studios' greed, on the other hand, is hidden behind... claims that they make nothing on the Web, that the streaming and downloading of our shows is purely 'promotional.'"

So is there any hope for resolution and a return to how things were a week and a half ago? "Things have gotten ugly," Lindelof opines, "and the lines of communication have broken down completely.... Perhaps it's not too late, though, for both sides to rally around the one thing we still have in common: our mourning for the way things used to be."

Posted by TV Guide Staff 11/12/07 4:51 PM

Will Tonight Show Go On... With Guest Hosts?

While many expect David Letterman or Jimmy Kimmel to return to their late-night hosting duties sooner rather than later, NBC is said to be pondering a series of guest hosts for The Tonight Show and Late Night, should Jay Leno and/or Conan O'Brien opt not to ire the WGA

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Indie Film Producers: Hey, We're Not the Bad Guys!

As media coverage continues to pit "the writers versus the producers," a group of 85 indie filmmakers want to make it clear that they don't figure into the work stoppage. As Linda Goldstein Knowlton (whose producing credits include Whale Rider) tells the Los Angeles Times, "Actually, the Writers Guild is negotiating against an entity"

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DeGeneres Cancels New York Shows

Striking writers pledged to picket comedian

November 14, 2007

Ellen DeGeneres has scrapped plans to tape her daytime talk show in New York next week following pressure from striking writers.

The comic, who's been at the center of a controversy over her return to work on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" during the strike, was to have taped shows in New York on Nov. 19 and 20. However, the Writers Guild of America, East pledged to protest her appearance and disrupt any elements of the show that took place outside the studio.

That led to the scrapping of the appearance, according to reports in Deadline Hollywood Daily and The Hollywood Reporter. Instead of taping the shows in New York, DeGeneres will work out of her usual digs at NBC Studios in Burbank.

"We're delighted that Ellen DeGeneres has decided not to come to New York to tape her program," Michael Winship, president of WGA, East, says in a statement. "She knows that the Writers Guild East would have been there to protest her lack of solidarity, not only with her guild writing staff but all the striking members of the Writers Guild, of which she is a member."

DeGeneres is a member of both the Writers Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, one of Hollywood's two performers' unions. Both AFTRA and Telepictures, which produces her talk show, have said the comedian is legally required to tape shows under the union's no-strike clause and her contract to keep turning out episodes to the local stations that air them.

She sat out the first day of the strike on Nov. 5, but returned to work the next day, citing concern for the other members of the show's crew.

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV GUIDE EDITOR'S BLOGS, STRIKE WATCH

Producers Blast WGA's Use of "Fear and Intimidation"

In the wake of reports that some soaps writers have returned to work via a loophole called "financial core" status, the WGA West has formed a Strike Rules Compliance Committee whose mission, says chair Dan Wilcox, "is to ensure that the strike rules are strictly enforced." And the first rule of strike club? "There is no more fundamental working rule than the prohibition against a WGA member performing struck work"

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV GUIDE EDITOR'S BLOG, STRIKE WATCH

Young and Restless and Incensed, Soap Scribes Deny Returning to Work

Soap scribes aren't picket-line-crossing dirty birds. That's the word from Young and the Restless head writer Lynn Latham, whose staff has issued the following statement refuting trade-mag reports that some in their ranks used the "financial core" loophole to return to their Smith-Coronas:

"As the writing staff of The Young and the Restless gathered together to share pizza

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just go back to work people!!! if this gets too ugly and long and drawn out, i may not even be interested in these shows anymore. Go back to work! The Office had to lay off 102 regular employees due to the strike. Imagine how many show there are, and if there are at least 100 people per show that are effected, that thousands of people laid off right before the holidays. GO BACK TO WORK, and get over it.

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Writers' Strike Starts to Hit Actors

Studios invoke 'force majeure' clause in contracts

November 16, 2007

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Michelle Ryan of 'Bionic Woman'

Dozens of actors joined striking writers on the picket lines this week. They may also soon be joining scribes in not collecting a full paycheck.

At least one studio, Universal Media Studios, has already informed regular cast members on several of its series, including "The Office" and "Bionic Woman," that it's suspending their contracts. Other studios are likely to follow suit in the next few days, the showbiz trade papers report.

The media companies are within their rights to cut off deals with actors, citing a "force majeure" provision in the Screen Actors Guild contract. Under force majeure, a party can free itself from the obligations of a contract if something outside either side's control disrupts business.

The Writers Guild strike, in this case, qualifies as such an outside force.

Triggering the force majeure clause gives the studios three options under contracts with SAG and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the other actors' union. The media companies can either put regulars on hold, continuing to pay their full salaries; suspend them for up to five weeks at half-pay; or terminate them.

Universal has chosen the suspension option, meaning the likes of Michelle Ryan, Steve Carell and "30 Rock" star Alec Baldwin will receive half their salaries for the next five weeks. At the end of that time, both the studio and the actors have the option to end their deals or continue at their regular pay.

If other studios choose to terminate their deals with actors, the performers would be free to pursue other projects. The actors' jobs are guaranteed for whenever production resumes, but any new work that comes along during the downtime would be the top priority.

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV GUIDE EDITOR'S BLOG, STRIKE WATCH

Writers, Producers Agree to ResumeTalks Nov. 26

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and WGA have agreed on a date to talk turkey... after having some turkey. The following statement was released late Friday: "Leaders from the AMPTP and the WGA have mutually agreed to resume formal negotiations on November 26," aka after the Thanksgiving holiday (aka after the tryptophan has worn off and everyone is alert and perky again).

Let's all cross our fingers and hope that the remainder of the TV season can be salvaged and that we won't, in fact, have to rely on such fare as "My Father Can Beat Up Your 5th Grader" (which, as I type it, actually sounds fun to watch. But you get my point.)

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, AUSIELLO REPORT

UPDATED Strike Chart: How Long Before Your Shows Go Dark?

[uPDATED 11/19/07]

There seems to be little doubt that the writers' strike will result in a shorter TV season, but just how short are we talking? Well, as you might've guessed, it varies from show to show. Those programs that are either highly efficient (Friday Night Lights) or have entered the season with a backlog of episodes (Men in Trees, Law & Order: SVU) will be in originals well into the new year. But series with tighter production schedules (i.e., nearly every half-hour comedy) will go dark almost immediately. Of course, figuring out how many episodes remain in your favorite shows' arsenals requires a lot of numbers crunching

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV GUIDE EDITOR'S BLOG, STRIKE WATCH

CBS News Workers Vote to Strike

It looks like CBS News employees represented by the Writers Guild of America could soon join their fellow members on the picket line. The network's news and promo writers, graphic artists and some producers

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TODAYS NEWS: OUR TAKE

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: Um, Nothing

At last, the craptacular side effects of the writers' strike are being felt in the movie biz as well as the TV industry. No sooner had Roswell E.T. Jason Behr and O.C. bad boy Cam Gigandet been chosen to costar with Bruce Willis and Woody Harrelson in Oliver Stone's Vietnam War drama Pinkville than the film's production start date was canceled because the director, a WGA member, likes to nip and tuck his scripts as he shoots. Ron Howard's Da Vinci Code sequel, Angels & Demons, Johnny Depp's Shantaram and the musical Nine have also been put on hold. Suddenly, I'm awfully glad I have DVDs of every Tremors movie ever made.

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Writers Strike Could Cost $21.3 Million a Day

A continuing dispute would have an acute effect on the region's economy, according to a film group's conservative estimates.

By Richard Verrier and Andrea Chang, L.A. Times

November 21, 2007

As thousands of TV and film writers marched along Hollywood Boulevard in the third week of their strike, film officials put a price tag on the potential economic toll of the walkout. Los Angeles' economy will lose more than $20 million a day in direct production spending if the writers strike extends into next month, according to FilmL.A. Inc., the nonprofit group that handles film permits and promotes the industry.

"If the strike continues it's going to have a huge impact on the local economy and middle-class jobs," FilmL.A. President Steve MacDonald said Tuesday.

Writers walked out more than two weeks ago in a dispute with major studios over pay for work that is distributed via the Internet, video iPods, cellphones and other new media. Writers and major studios are set to resume talks Monday, although the guild has vowed to continue striking until a deal is finalized.

On Hollywood Boulevard on Tuesday afternoon, striking writers were joined by members of such unions as the Screen Actors Guild, Teamsters and Service Employees International Union. The solidarity march drew 4,000 people, according to the Writers Guild of America.

The 1 1/2 -hour rally, which moved along the historic stretch of the boulevard, kicked off with an appearance by R&B singer Alicia Keys. "I'm here in support of this cause," she said amid deafening cheers. "I want you to know I am a writer, too."

Depending on how long it lasts, the strike could end up inflicting more economic pain than the previous writers walkout in 1988, which lasted 22 weeks and cost the entertainment industry an estimated $500 million. That was the equivalent of a little more than $3 million a day.

Hollywood is a more dominant force in the region today, with studios and networks that are part of global media giants such as Time Warner Inc., Walt Disney Co. and News Corp. Los Angeles also is more dependent than ever on television production, which has taken the biggest hit in the strike. The walkout occurred in the middle of the fall TV season, before networks had a chance to stockpile all the scripts they needed.

Already, at least two dozen shows have stopped production, including dramas such as "24," "Cold Case" and "Desperate Housewives," late-night shows and several sitcoms including "Till Death," "The Office" and "My Name Is Earl."

Most TV shows are filmed in L.A., so the effect is especially acute here. If the strike continues into next month, virtually all of the 44 one-hour dramas and 21 situation comedies that are shot in Los Angeles will stop production entirely as the shows run out of fresh scripts to keep crews filming, industry officials say.

That will translate into a loss of 15,000 jobs and $21.3 million a day in direct spending, according to FilmL.A. The estimate is based on the average number of employees on these shows, and their typical budgets and shooting cycles.

For example, a single episode of a drama costs about $3 million to produce, employs 300 people and takes eight days to shoot. An episode of a half-hour sitcom costs $1.5 million, employs an average of 88 employees and has a five-day shooting cycle.

Sitcoms were the first to take a hit because of the shorter lead times in writing them. During the first two weeks of the strike, filming for sitcoms outside of studio soundstages dropped nearly 50% compared with the same period a year earlier, according to FilmL.A. Activity for TV dramas has been virtually flat, while on-location reality TV shoots jumped 23% recently.

FilmL.A.'s estimate is conservative because it only takes into account jobs in the industry, not the scores of jobs at restaurants, hotels and other businesses that service Hollywood. The entertainment industry accounts for almost 7% of Los Angeles County's $442-billion economy.

Nor does it factor in job losses from the feature film sector. Studios already have scripts in hand for their 2008 slates, so only a few feature films have delayed production, including Ron Howard's "Angels & Demons" and Oliver Stone's "Pinkville."

The level of disruption was underscored by Tuesday's march. Streets connecting to Hollywood Boulevard between Ivar and Highland avenues were closed to traffic for the march.

After Keys performed two songs, the crowd -- led by a small fleet of Teamsters trucks -- marched to the sound of drumbeats, waving signs and chanting, "Contracts! Now!" and "On strike, shut 'em down -- Hollywood's a union town!"

Creative messages dotted the sea of signs. One marcher took the opportunity to seek an eligible bachelor, waving a sign that said, "Looking for Mr. Write."

Helicopters and a small plane pulling a banner that said, "WGA -- on the same page," circled overhead. Representatives from Creative Artists Agency walked through the crowd serving scones and hot apple cider.

"The writers are fighting the fight that we have coming up next year, so we're staying with them every step of the way," said Pamm Fair, deputy national executive director of the Screen Actors Guild. The actors contract expires June 30.

The commotion drew attention from curious onlookers. Residents in apartment complexes along Hollywood Boulevard cheered from open windows, while store owners stood in their doorways, some handing out coupons to marchers.

The march came to an end in front of the Chinese theater, where "A Beautiful Mind" writer Akiva Goldsman, actress Sandra Oh of "Grey's Anatomy" and Writers Guild negotiation committee Chairman John F. Bowman took to the stage.

"Pay us and we'll shut up and go back to work," Bowman said during his speech. "Show some soul, we'll show some flexibility."

richard.verrier@latimes.com

andrea.chang@latimes.com

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Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, TV GUIDE EDITOR'S BLOGS, STRKIE WATCH

An Insider's View: "Strike Is Like Seeing a Cliff in Front of You"

How is the strike unsettling those who are neither on the picket line nor a studio exec? A production assistant at one of television's top-rated shows shares with TVGuide.com his perspective as a crew member:

Episodic television had always seemed like a great gig in the world of production. Working on an established television drama series provided things that are not the norm in our industry. It provides stability, consistency, and regularity in terms of having an income, a crew and a destination. Episodic productions provide a longterm period of employment running from season to season that lasts between eight and 10 months. Crew members of a show know that for the majority of the year, they will be earning a regular paycheck, working with the same people, and going to the same place.

That was until the WGA decided to strike on November 5. At this point episodic television shows' hands were tied. They can only finish producing episodes that were completely written before the strike. There would be no finishing or rewriting scripts. Thus all the work that was left to shoot was already in the hands of the producers and there would be no new work coming in. Whether it is one script or three, everyone on the crews knows that work is short and will be coming to an end soon if the strike isn't resolved. On the set, opinions are mixed, but the emotions are high.

The questions are flying

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Courtesy of; ZAP2IT, TELEVISION

The TV Grid

From the Los Angeles Times

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Soon your favorite TV shows will either go into repeats or hiatus until Hollywood's labor issues are resolved. How soon? That depends on how the networks choose to program December, typically a month of low viewership and plenty of repeats. Airing even more repeats next month would take most prime-time series into mid-January, at best.

Here's a look at how production on many television shows stands:

Daytime

ABC soaps Network says its soaps are written "well into the new year," and that they will "continue to produce original programming with no repeats and without interruption."

CBS soaps Expected to continue in originals through February.

NBC soaps ("Days of Our Lives") Expected to continue in originals through January.

"Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show" DeGeneres has decided to go ahead with her show.

"The View" Will continue uninterrupted, according to a spokesman.

Late Night

"Late Show with David Letterman" In repeats.

"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" In repeats.

"Late Night with Conan O'Brien" In repeats.

"The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" In repeats.

"Jimmy Kimmel Live" In repeats.

"Last Call with Carson Daily" In repeats.

"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" In repeats.

"The Colbert Report" In repeats.

"Real Time with Bill Maher" In repeats.

"Saturday Night Live" In repeats.

"Nightline" Will remain live and in originals.

ABC

"Desperate Housewives" Nine out of 22 episodes completed; production shut down.

"Grey's Anatomy" Eleven out of 22 episodes completed. Production shut down.

"Ugly Betty" Will have 13 out of 24 episodes completed.

"Boston Legal" Will have 14 of 22 episodes completed.

"Lost" Expected to have eight out of 16 episodes ready. Scheduled to air in February.

"Private Practice" Will have 10 of 22 episodes completed.

"Pushing Daisies" Will have nine of 22 episodes completed.

"Big Shots" Will have 13 of 13 episodes completed if production is not halted.

"Women's Murder Club" Will have 10 of 13 episodes completed.

"Samantha Who?" Will have 12 of 22 episodes completed.

"Cavemen" Expected to have 12 out of 13 episodes completed; has not received an order for a full season.

"Men in Trees" Will have 19 of 27 episodes completed, including five episodes left from the first season.

"Cashmere Mafia" The premiere has been delayed because of the strike.

"Dirty Sexy Money" Will have between 11 and 13 episodes completed.

"Brothers & Sisters" Will have 12 episodes completed.

"Eli Stone" Will have 13 of 13 ordered. Midseason premiere date is undetermined.

"Carpoolers" Will have 13 of 13 episodes completed.

CBS

"CSI" Will have 11 or 12 out of 22 episodes completed.

"CSI: Miami" Will have 13 out of 24 episodes completed.

"CSI: NY" Will have 13 or 14 out of 22 episodes completed.

"Criminal Minds" Will have 11 or 12 of 22 episodes completed.

"Without a Trace" Will have 12 out of 22 episodes completed.

"Cold Case" Will have 13 out of 22 episodes completed.

"NCIS" Will have 13 out of 22 episodes completed.

"The Unit" Will have 11 of 22 episodes completed.

"Numb3rs" Will have 12 of 22 episodes completed.

"Survivor: China" Full season has been shot. Finale will air Dec. 16, 8-10 p.m.

"The Amazing Race" Full season has been shot. Finale is scheduled to air in January.

"Kid Nation" Full season has been shot. Finale is scheduled to air Dec. 12.

"Moonlight" Expected to have 11 out of 12 episodes completed; has not received an order for a full season.

"Cane" Expected to complete all 13 episodes; has not yet received an order for a full season.

"Shark" Will have 12 of 22 episodes completed.

"Jericho" Will have seven of seven episodes completed and will probably premiere sometime in January.

"New Adventures of Old Christine" Production has been shut down. Will have eight or nine of 13 episodes completed. Midseason premiere unscheduled.

"Big Bang Theory" Production has been shut down. Will have eight or nine of 13 episodes completed.

"Two and a Half Men" Production has been shut down. Will have 11 of 22 episodes completed.

"Rules of Engagement" Production has been shut down. Will have nine or 10 episodes completed.

"How I Met Your Mother" Production has been shut down. Will have 11 of 22 episodes completed.

NBC

"The Office" Production has been shut down. Will have nine or 10 of 30 episodes completed.

"My Name is Earl" Will have 13 out of 22 episodes completed.

"Law & Order: SVU" Will have 14 of 22 episodes completed.

"Medium" Will have nine of 22 episodes completed.

"30 Rock" Expected to have 10 of 22 episodes completed.

"Heroes" Production has been shut down. Will have 11 of 24 episodes completed.

"Friday Night Lights" Expected to have 15 of 22 episodes completed.

"The Biggest Loser" Finale is scheduled to air Dec. 18, 9-11 p.m.

"Scrubs" Expected to have 12 of 18 episodes completed.

"Journeyman" Will have 12 of 13 episodes completed; has not yet received an order for a full season.

CW

"Everybody Hates Chris" Expected to have 22 of 22 episodes completed.

"Aliens in America" Still in production. Will have 17 of 22 episodes completed.

"Girlfriends" Still in production. Will have 10 of 22 episodes completed.

"The Game" Still in production. Will have 10 of 22 episodes completed.

"Reaper" Still in production. Will have 13 of 13 episodes completed.

"Gossip Girl" Will have 12 of 22 episodes completed.

"Smallville" Will have 12 to 14 of 22 episodes completed.

"Supernatural" Will have 12 to 14 of 22 episodes completed.

"One Tree Hill" Returning in mid-season; will have 12 out of 13 episodes completed.

"Beauty & The Geek" Finale is scheduled to air at 8:00 p.m. Dec. 4. A new cycle will air in mid-season.

"Life Is Wild" Will have 12 of 13 episodes completed.

"America's Next Top Model" Season finale is scheduled for Dec. 12. An additional 13-episode run scheduled for early next year.

"Beauty and the Geek" Season finale is scheduled for Dec. 4. An additional 10-episode run scheduled for early next year.

"Crowned" (the mother-daughter beauty contest) Has eight episodes ordered. Scheduled to premiere Dec. 12.

"Farmer Wants a Wife" Has eight episodes ordered; premieres Dec. 12.

"Pussycat Dolls 2" Has eight episodes ordered.

Fox

"24" Will have eight or nine out of 24 episodes completed. Originally scheduled for January, now premiere is delayed.

"House" Will have 13 of 22 episodes completed.

"Bones" Will have 12 of 22 episodes completed.

"Prison Break" Will have 13 out of 22 episodes completed.

"Back to You" Production has been shut down. Will have nine of 24 episodes completed.

"'Til Death" Production has been shut down. Will have 11 of 22 episodes completed.

"K-Ville" Production has been shut down. Will have 10 of 13 episodes completed.

"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" Will have 13 of 13 episodes completed. Two-night premiere is scheduled for Jan. 13 and 14.

"Kitchen Nighmares" Finale is scheduled to air in December.

"Family Guy" Will have 19 of 22 episodes completed.

"King of the Hill " Will have 21 of 22 episodes completed.

"American Dad" Will have 22 of 22 episodes completed.

"The Simpsons" Will have 22 of 22 episodes completed.

USA

"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" Will have 10 of 22 episodes completed.

"Burn Notice" Scheduled to start production of Season 2 in January.

"Starter Wife" Scheduled to start production in March.

Sci-Fi

"Stargate Atlantis" Currently airing; production completed.

"Battlestar Galactica" Final season is scheduled to premiere in April. Will have 10 of 22 episodes completed.

"Eureka" Third season is expected to premiere next summer, but will probably be delayed.

FX

"30 Days" Production on third season completed.

"Nip/Tuck" Will have 14 of 14 episodes completed.

"The Shield" Production on the series finale is underway. No air date set.

"The Riches" Second season premiere is scheduled for March. Will have seven of 13 completed.

"Dirt" Production is underway, and it could be affected.

"Rescue Me" Production on fifth season scheduled to start in early '08.

"Damages" Just picked up for two more seasons. Production on season two scheduled to begin early next year but will be delayed by strike.

HBO

"Entourage" and "Big Love" Both series are scheduled to air in the summer of 2008 but are expected to be delayed.

"True Blood" and "12 Miles of Bad Road" Have begun production.

"The Wire" Fifth and last season is completed and scheduled to premiere Jan. 6.

"In Treatment" New series scheduled to premiere Jan. 28.

Showtime

"Dexter" and "Brotherhood" Production is completed; shows are currently airing.

"The Tudors" Second season returns in late March, completed production Nov. 1 on 12 episodes.

A new Tracey Ullman series Will have five out of five episodes completed.

--Times Staff Writers

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