Ever since the Writer’s Guild Of America went on strike in May, there has been doubt on whether the traditional Fall/Winter season would continue as normal and once the actors went on strike in July, the chances reduced even further.
Many long-running shows like “Grey’s Anatomy”, “9-1-1” and “9-1-1: Lonestar” have already been impacted by the strikes, which is why the studios, including ABC, have been scheduling more unscripted content like game shows and reality series to fill the void, in addition to international shows, sports and licensed content. These shows air on linear networks in the US, such as ABC and FOX, but internationally, in many countries, they are released as originals on Disney+.
With no-end of the writers’ and actors’ strikes in sight, the chances of getting these long-running shows back on the air this winter have been greatly reduced. Especially as it will take a couple of months to get the shows back up and running, with new scripts written, actors, crew and sets prepped, etc., for the new season.
During a recent interview with Deadline, Fox’s President of Entertainment, Michael Thorn, explained that they need to get the strikes resolved by October 1st to get these scripted shows back on the air during the winter season.
“On a returning show, you can really be up and running and in two months. You’re going get to a point in the fall in the late fall, where it’s going to be very hard to launch within the traditional TV viewing season. If that means the show could work and succeed in the summer, great. If it’s better to wait for the fall and use football and sports… we’ll do that. You could use October 1 as the date. Every show is different but sometimes when you’re staring at a May launch date, you always wonder is that the best time.”
In order to get these shows up and running again, the studios and unions will need to get back around the table to negotiate. Judging from the last couple of months, the studios and unions still seem to be very apart on their demands, but without them actively talking to one another, it will only extend the length of the strikes. Getting the writers back to work to work on scripts for the new season of these established shows, in addition to finishing up work on existing shows, reshoots and development on upcoming titles.
In previous years, with strikes, some long-running shows have had to have shorter seasons, but the clock is ticking on many of the major shows getting a season this year, and even if the strikes ended this week, we likely wouldn’t see any scripted shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” or “9-1-1” until early next year. With the deadline coming up, this is likely a small threat to the unions that negotiations need to start moving soon, as if it goes much longer, the studios will just write off this winter’s scripted season and leave the shows until next year, which will impact many jobs, not just actors and writers, but everyone else working on these shows. But again, while the studios and unions aren’t talking to one another, nothing is happening.
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