Iger sees damage if strike runs long



The common wisdom is that ABC is the network most vulnerable to the WGA strike, since it has a strong schedule of scripted shows. Disney CEO Bob Iger didn’t dispute that when the subject came up in yesterday’s quarterly conference call.

"If the writers stay out for a four-weeks-plus period of time, it will definitely have an impact on ABC’s schedule, because scripted shows – even though we have a number of shows currently on the schedule in the can – ultimately we’re going to run out of them. We’re fine through the November Sweeps. We’ll probably end up, if the strike runs longer, running a little bit more reruns in December, or holiday programming. We may have to save some of the original programs for after the first of the year," Iger said.

"We also have a lot of scripted and reality shows in the can, led by ‘Lost,’ which has been in production and we weren’t intending to bring that back until after the first of the year anyway. And we have a number of other ones and we have added to our programming lineup some reality shows. We also have a number of movie titles that we can turn to – and news that we could also run. So, we actually think that the network is well prepared. Of course, our preference would be to keep the schedule intact, given the momentum that we have, given the success that we’ve had," said the CEO.

He is particularly worried about the strike impact on Southern California, where Disney is headquartered. "We would hope that we’ll be able to find a way to settle this difference and settle the strike before there’s indelible damage done to the business, or, by the way, to the communities that we operate in. This is a trickle-down effect that this has on more than just people directly associated with producing these shows. Southern California is going to fell it first and hard – and I think that’s just a shame," Iger said.