Various news agencies are reporting that the Writer’s Guild of America and various production companies might have reached a consensus and that the strike might be ending soon. Already, Television writers have been on strike, picketing constantly, for four months, leaving all the major networks strambling for programming by rearranging their schedules or adding new reality shows to the airwaves. Some shows, such as the popular 24 have been pushed back indefinently, while others, such as Battlestar Galactica, LOST, House, and more, have incomplete seasons ready, and their runs are going to be up in the air.
According to Reuters:
“Negotiators for Hollywood studios and striking writers have agreed to terms of a new contract that could be presented to union leaders in days and, if approved, end their three-month-old labor clash later this week, two sources told Reuters on Monday.
While the outlines of an accord were reached over the weekend, the two sides still need to hammer out contract language before a deal is submitted for approval to the governing boards the East and West Coast branches of the Writers Guild of America, they said.”
Variety is also hopeful:
“As the lawyers work overtime to hammer out the details, scenarios are emerging that could — underline could — bring an end to the WGA strike as early as next week.”
Finally, the New York Times is cautious, not because the writers might be returning, but because of the very nature of the strike, the playing field will be very different:
“But even as the sides were moving toward conciliation, many of those best-versed in the writers’ business were fretting that a more complicated, and perhaps less lucrative, future lies ahead. In interviews last week, lawyers and others — some of whom were granted anonymity to avoid derailing talks — cautioned that a post-strike world appeared likely to bring more imports from foreign television, diminished spending on expensive pilot episodes and even more reality programming.”
I guess we’ll be seeing. I hope that the strike has been helpful to the writers, and that they will get paid for the work that they do for the shows, but I’m guessing that that will come to light once the strike is over.
The next big step will be the recovery. At this point, I see it as highly unlikely that most of the current shows will recover from this strike. The current season has been effectively slashed in half. Some shows have been delayed, such as Battlestar Galactica and 24, while others have aired their current runs, and are at the mercy of the strike for their return. Heroes had done this, with a much shorter season. Hopefully, this won’t impact some shows as much, but I suspect that it might be the death for some, such as Friday Night Lights.
The strike, I’m guessing, will also spell an end for some of the upper range budgets that some shows have typically employed. COupled with the financial problems of the US, numerous shows have already been dumped by studios while they tighen up their belts.