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Strike Could Shake Up Television For Years to Come

For the first time in a while, things actually seem to be looking up in the writers' strike. The writers and producers restarted informal talks this week for the first time since early December, the writers are dropping some demands in the hopes of reaching a deal, and the decision not to picket the Grammys seems like a hopeful sign. Still, even if there's a chance of getting TV shows back relatively soon, the strike's effects will definitely stretch beyond this season — and could change the way TV shows get developed for good.

Typically, this would be pilot season, when new shows scramble to make first episodes that will impress the networks and earn them a spot on the schedule come Upfronts time in May. But the networks are already dropping scripts that might otherwise have been turned into pilots. And NBC is taking the most radical approach of all, nixing the splashy Upfront presentations and even eliminating pilots themselves.

Networks do spend a lot of money producing pilots that don't get picked up. And it's true that pilots don't necessarily predict what a show will look like later: Last year's Pushing Daisies pilot had a bigger-name director and more expensive effects than the regular episodes that followed. But without pilots, how will NBC pick its shows? In theory, scripts should be enough — it works for movies, after all. But networks often take pilots to focus groups to learn if a show could keep them coming back week after week. (Not that that always works: Last year, Journeyman had the best focus group reactions in five years, and we know how that turned out.)

I just hope the network doesn't restrict itself to reality shows and shows that have already aired in other countries, a la Kath and Kim. No matter what, though, it seems like television could look pretty different when this is all over. What's your take?


Join The Conversation
pargie pargie 9 years
I'm still not over Journeyman, it's not over til its over!
LaLa0428 LaLa0428 9 years
I hope they continue the talks and come to some sort resolution soon. I think we forget how many people are currently out of work, because of the strike. The actors can afford this strike, but the lowly boom guys, the makeup artists, set dressers, etc need to get back to work. But I miss tv. :(
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i really hope these informal talks become more formal - i would hate for tv to really go down the drain because pilot season is a no go - and to see actors which could have success not get the chance
BlooBayoo BlooBayoo 9 years
I adgree, paine. As much as it hurts now, the writers have to hold on for fair compensation. The deal being proposed now by the AMPTP is blantantly unfair and an attempt to continue to shortchange the writers on digital broadcasts, downloads and DVD sales. I miss the good new shows as well but I'd much rather know that the creative minds who are truly responsible for making television great are getting their due.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
I can't believe this strike is still going on. It seems like they would be losing even more money by continuing this strike. It needs to be settled yesterday!
paine paine 9 years
As much as I miss the shows, I don´t think the WGA should drop some demands, even though this whole thing its hurting them professional and personally which its bad. they need to continue this if they want a fair deal, not get screwed like the last time.
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
This makes me sad, because I love Cane on CBS. Watch it! They still have the finale episode online at, last time I checked. Watch it and when you see how good it is, please go here: . and tell them to renew Cane for another season! It's a little thing to do, but every little bit counts! :) I really don't want them to cancel Cane. The ratings haven't been so great, but CBS hasn't advertised the show as well as they could and it's a truly awesome show. Some people are even comparing it to Dallas, how the ratings weren't good at first, but it became a major sensation. Cane needs to get a chance to finish up this season and start a new season. It's a great show with magnificent acting and writing, it would be a great shame if the writer's strike would end Cane. Please watch the video on! ;) Thanksmuch!
megnmac megnmac 9 years
I think ppl know when they are making something good, and when they are making shlock. Like, Freaks and Geeks, which is such a sad show with untimely death. And Arrested Development. I even watched Firefly (someone at work is a sci fi guy and since I liked the movie...) and loved it. These great shows came and went without a chance - maybe if there is more invested in the good up front, and faith in people liking it, it will make things better. Pushing Daisies is so great. And Chuck (on Thursday for some reason this week?). Did we really need to see a pilot, or just get the idea and the actors? On the other hand... Does this mean we'll see more big names carrying shows (which really doesn't always work) so networks will take them on? Or maybe the studios will be more interfering in the shows they do pick up - like the stress on the show from "The TV Set" with non creative people forcing their vision on a show? Or like Brothers and Sisters migrating to the younger demo? It will really be interesting with NBC scrapping pilots entirely!
angelinemarie angelinemarie 9 years
i miss tv : (
Kazagirl Kazagirl 9 years
I just pray that the rest of this television season is salvageable. I am not a big fan of new shows anyway. I usually don't start most new shows until their 3rd season because I hate getting attached to shows in their first season and then having them be canceled. I also wonder what is going to happen to all the new shows that premiered this year like Cavemen, Private Practice and Gossip Girl. Do they automatically get renewed for next season? Whatever happens I am soooo over this strike and I want things to get back to normal SOON.
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