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StrikeWatch: Day Three

Not much to report today on Day Three of the WGA Strike. However, it does seem as though both sides are digging their heels into the ground and seem unwilling to sit down with the federal-appointed mediator to discuss the contract negotiation any further, a decision which will have lasting ramifications in the months to come.

Several high-profile series have shut down after work was unable to be completed this week, due to the fact that writers, showrunners, and actors have walked the picket line and not turned up for work. Expect confirmation today from studio NBC Universal that production on hit comedy The Office has in fact been shut down, as I reported yesterday. (For a hilarious and apt behind-the-scenes look at the striking writers on The Office, click here.)

The tally of series that have either had shoots derailed or have shut down completely include: The Office, Old Christine, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Desperate Housewives (which was, however, expected to wrap production this week on their final script), Cane, Back to You, 'Til Death, The Rules of Engagement.

Expect pink slips to fly today like confetti as studios shut down production and let staffers go in the wake of a protracted strike that many believe may continue into 2008.

According to Variety, the working classes will be the first to feel the pinch:
"At 20th Century Fox TV, insiders said assistants and other show staffers will be informed of their fate shortly.

"It will be true across the board, and not just ‘24,' " one exec said, referring to rumors that "24" staffers had already been let go. "There will be layoffs."

Studio reps said they'll attempt to keep workers on as long as there is work to do, but that might not be much longer.

"As those jobs become obsolete and shows finish up their final script, we can't keep those jobs," one exec said."
Elsewhere, Lost executive producer Damon Lindelof was philosophical yesterday about how long the strike would continue and had feverishly worked over the weekend to turn in the eighth script for Season Four of Lost. Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, who likened the possibility of a short season of Lost as "buying a Harry Potter book, reading half of it, and then having to put it down for many months," had included a mini-cliffhanger in the event that ABC would air the eight episodes this season, though it was entirely possible that they would shift the eight installments to 2008-09 for a 24-episode season. Stay tuned while the networks determine their next move for high-profile serialized dramas like Lost and 24, which have yet to launch this season.

TV God Joss Whedon, who watched his writer father strike in 1988 and was "proud" to strike, has spoken out about his resolute support of the WGA strike in an articulate letter to the masses that joins earlier statements made by showrunners Shonda Rhimes and Shawn Ryan.

In speaking of the support of actor-friends like David Boreanaz, Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders, and Alexis Denisof, Whedon says, "They understand that the issues at hand affect the future of the entire creative community here, and that the writers, by virtue of being first, will set a precedent that affects all the guilds. That is why we writers have to be firm, intractable and absolute in our dedication to getting a fair deal. And that’s all we’re talking about: a fair deal. For us, and for generations of artists to come."

In times such as these, it is important, I think, to reflect on that statement and to remember, that no matter what the outcome of this strike in the short- and long-term, the battle is being waged for what is fair and equitable.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Kid Nation (CBS); Phenomenon (NBC); America's Next Top Model (CW); 41st Annual CMA Awards (ABC; 8-11 pm); Back to You/'Til Death (FOX)

9 pm: Criminal Minds (CBS); Bionic Woman (NBC);
Gossip Girl (CW); Kitchen Nightmares

10 pm: CSI: New York (CBS); Life

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: America's Next Top Model.

On tonight's episode ("The Girls Who Crawl"), Tyra teaches the girls how to model in front of a moving camera and later they shoot a music video with Enrique Iglesias.

9 pm: Bionic Woman.

I'm not really digging Bionic Woman, but Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money have both gotten the boot tonight so that ABC can air the CMA Awards (yawn), so I'm desperate for something to watch. On tonight's episode ("The List"), Jaime and Tom (guest star Jordan Bridges) turn all jetsetter, flying off to Paris for a mission involving Berkut and CIA operatives. Back at home, Becca ends up in jail trying to impress a boy.


The CineManiac said…
Personally I'm taking the break the CMA's cause to watch some Ghost Hunters, but maybe I'm just a weirdo.
Unknown said…
What, exactly, is a "showrunner"?
Jace Lacob said…
Andy, a showrunner is a series writer/producer (such as Greg Daniels or Tim Kring) who oversees the creative production, takes the lead on breaking stories, oversees the draft process (often polishing writers' scripts), etc. They are the hand at the tiller of the ship.
Anonymous said…
I heard that "The Office" is totally shut down and let go most of their crew today.
Anonymous said…
That's so sad that The Office is closed down! But I know it's for the best and really hope that the writers come out on top in all of this mess. That YouTube clip is HILARIOUS. It totally cheered me up in the doom and gloom of this strike situation. Glad to see the Office writers are still making me laugh.
Anonymous said…
Cane is not shut down. A second unit shot on Monday had to be relocated, but most of the scene had been finished and the current plan is to finish the last two episodes of our 13-episode order, the scripts for which were finished before the strike. We're around for a couple more weeks.
Unknown said…
Thanks, Jace.

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