But how long will it take?


With the best hope yet on the horizon for putting an end to the WGA strike, Reuters penned an article yesterday on how long things might take to get the shows back on the air. Yesterday, Shari Anne Brill, Carat USA VP/director of programming, gave us a best case scenario of April as an average for returning shows. Reuters did a bit of breakout by programming type. Highlights:

* Even if the labor dispute were settled by next week, viewers would be unlikely to see original episodes of returning hour-long dramas before early April. The same is true for single-camera comedies such as "The Office" or "Scrubs," which like dramas, are shot more like a film and without live audiences.

* Multi-camera sitcoms like "Two and a Half Men" and "Back to You" take less time to make — three to four weeks from start to finish — and could be on the air before mid-March.

* "The writing process itself tends to take a couple of weeks for a script to be ready to shoot, and that’s just the beginning. Then you have to get it out to directors, scout locations, cast it and build sets," said one studio executive.

Filming a drama generally takes about eight days, with another week and a half needed for editing and other post-production work, he said.

* Not all of the roughly 65 scripted series bumped off prime time by the writers’ strike will come back this year. With dramas and single-camera comedies unlikely to get more than six weeks on the air from the time they return until the end of the broadcast season in late May, network programmers have some tough choices to make.

* Hits like "CSI," "House" and "Grey’s Anatomy," are "no-brainers" to bring back this spring, one network executive told Reuters. Lower-rated shows whose futures already were in doubt will either be placed on hold for possible relaunch in the future or be canceled altogether, in part because networks lack the time to build up marketing campaigns for them.

* Scripted series that come back will share the airwaves with many of the reality TV and game shows that have flooded the networks in recent weeks as strike-proof programming.