If all goes as planned today, the Writers Guild of America will formally announce its decision to call off the 100-day-old writers' strike, putting writers back to work as soon as tomorrow. But what happens then? How long must we wait to see new TV? And did the strike resolve all the issues at hand? Here's a roundup of the latest news:
- For viewers, the big questions are: When do my shows come back? And how many episodes will we get? In general, comedies could be back on the air in four to six weeks and dramas in six to eight. Some shows — including Heroes and Pushing Daisies — will be off the air till fall, but in general, the May sweeps period will look as packed as ever.
- For specific, show-by-show information, I'm partial to this constantly updated chart of network shows from the New York Times that pulls together the latest from various news sources. E! spoke with a number of executive producers about the status of their shows, and their comments are definitely worth a read. TV Guide has its own chart of show returns which, unlike the NYT chart, includes some cable series too. And just in case that's not enough, here's yet another chart with information on the likes of Big Love and Weeds.
- Speaking of cable, the NYT has a pretty good rundown of what's going on with series like Army Wives (which has been delayed).
- As for some specific network shows: Gossip Girl could return in the summer, Lost is planning five additional episodes for this season, Scrubs will end its run with six episodes but it's unclear if they'll air on TV or go straight to DVD, and 24 won't return till 2009.
There's more, including what's next for late-night shows, so just
- Late-night shows that have been working without writers will get them back tomorrow, and Saturday Night Live has set a Feb. 23 return.
- Was it all worth it? Sentiment among writers has been mostly positive, though most acknowledge the deal could have been more perfect. If you're interested in the nitty-gritty of the contract, here's a story listing the provisions, and here's some detailed analysis. On the purely financial front, the strike is estimated to have cost Hollywood $2 billion.
- Are writers right to declare victory? The LA Times has its take on the strike's winners and losers, and the Hollywood Reporter has some analysis, too.
- Has the strike harmed TV forever? Some are saying it's hard to know whether viewers will come back to TV, given the sharp drop in TV ratings (and rise in online video watching) over the months of the strike.
- And this may not be the end of labor unrest in Hollywood: The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists start contract negotiations soon.