Kellner sees CW OK through strike



With a stable of CW affiliates at ACME Communications, CEO Jamie Kellner told Wall Street analysts that the WGA strike isn’t likely to hurt the upstart network, and might even help a bit. "If you look back to the last strike [1988], when the Fox Network was in its infancy, actually you saw some shows break out because people had not been watching the 4th network, they had been watching ABC, NBC and CBS, and finally gave the new network a chance and things like ‘Married with Children’ took off," said Kellner, who should know, since he was then President of Fox. As for the current strike, Kellner said all of the networks have enough programming in the can to go through the November Sweeps, and it is his understanding that the CW started early and has more in the can than the other networks. But generally the usual mix of new shows and reruns will get the networks through January. "You’re not going to see any change in how the networks are scheduling for quite a while. What will happen then, though, is you will not have enough programming to go through the February Sweeps and that’s where you might face a bit of a decline in audience if they don’t have originals. And if the CW’s smart they’ll hold those extra originals they have for the Feb Sweeps and try to get out ahead of the other guys with their originals before they [the other networks] can get their shows back into production," Kellner said. That all depends, of course, on the length of the strike. And with negotiations resuming next week, there is now hope for a settlement.