Published at: Nov. 5, 2007, 1:42 p.m. CST by hercules
I am – Hercules!!
The promo card attached to the Brian Williams edition of “Saturday Night Live” announced a new live episode starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Amy Winehouse is coming next weekend, but the show’s Writers Guild of America East writers are now on strike and have been since 12:01 ET Monday morning.
The Writers Guild of America West followed at 12:01 PT.
Last-minute negotiations collapsed around 9:30 p.m. PT Sunday.
And now what happens? NBC expects WGA members Steve Carrell and B.J. Novak to be back to work at “The Office” Monday morning, but what of their fellow actor/writers Paul Lieberstein and Mindy Kaling, who arguably play less central roles in front of the cameras?
And what of TV’s showrunners, almost all of whom are also members of the WGA? Will they march the picket lines and let non-writers supervise shoots and editing sessions for the episodes they’ve written, or will they cross WGA picket lines to ensure their visions are realized to their satisfaction?
Will we get a new "South Park" on Wednesday?
The WGA is telling its members that picketing is mandatory, and that each member is expected to picket 20 hours per week. (Won't this prove tricky for super-wealthy Akiva Goldsman or David Koepp if they're wintering in Greece or Australia?)
Entertainment shows that air the same day they shoot – “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” “Late Night,” “The Late Show,” “The Tonight Show,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and so on – will be the first to go dark. Most sitcoms and hourlongs have at least five unaired episodes scripted, so they’ll continue to offer new installments at least through the end of November sweeps.
Scripted shows slated to start or return at midseason – “24,” “Medium,” “Lost” and their ilk – have more episodes in the can and may see their starts delayed until February sweeps (or later) if the strike is not resolved in a timely manner.
Look for lots more unscripted shows, which were not a major commercial force (if they existed at all) during the last WGA strike nearly 20 years ago. “The Real World” didn’t arrive on MTV until 1992. The first three major-network reality shows – “Survivor,” “Big Brother” and the ABC version of “Making the Band” – didn’t arrive until eight years later.
Variety reports that CBS is contemplating the first-ever spring edition of “Big Brother” – possibly a celebrity edition – to launch in March should the strike prove lengthy. The highly rated “Brother” is a particularly potent network weapon as it affordably provides CBS three hours of new primetime programming weekly.
Read all of Variety’s story on the matter here.