Post WGA strike update


Carat Programming’s Broadcast and Video Beat reported the latest on network prime programming and premieres, as well as an update on the new WGA-AMPTP contract. Members of the Writers Guild ratified their new three contract with the AMPTP by a margin of 93.6%. 4,060 votes in total were cast which represents about 39% of the WGA’s membership. The new WGA contract gives writers a larger stake in the revenue generated when their movies, television shows and other creative content are distributed online. The contract will double the rate that writers are paid for movies and TV shows that are sold online (for downloading), will establish jurisdiction over programming created for the internet (above certain budgetary parameters) and will secure payments (after a 17-day window for returning series and 24-day window for freshman series) for shows that are streamed on the web. Language in the deal will also allow the union to monitor and audit these new technologies. The new contract is in effect retroactively from 2/13/08 through 5/1/11.

Now that the contract has been ratified, the WGA and its two labor allies, the Screen Actors Guild and International Brotherhood of Teamster’s Union announced earlier in the week that they are sponsoring a bill that could boost their share of revenues when programs are licensed to be shown on affiliated cable networks or stations.

Some programming notes:

ABC studios, which produces Scrubs, is reportedly in talks with ABC TV network to produce an 18-episode order of the comedy for 2008/09. This came as a surprise to NBC, which currently has the rights to the series. The network claimed that it’s still in a period of exclusive negotiations with the studio regarding the fate of the comedy. Scrubs completed 12 episodes of what was going to be its final season until the writers strike hit. The remaining five unaired pre-strike episodes are slated to air starting 4/10. Still unclear, is the future of the six remaining episodes that were ordered for 2007/08 with regard to whether they will air on TV or go straight to DVD. If Scrubs winds up moving over to ABC, star Zach Braff and the rest of the cast will stay with the show.

As you may recall coming of age drama, quarterlife, which followed six individuals in their twenties, was initially a failed ABC pilot that had been brought to life on the internet in the form of eight-minute Webisodes. NBC acquired the rights to these Webisodes and worked with its creators to cobble it together into one-hour TV episodes. The show, which had its network debut on 2/26, delivered horrifyingly low ratings. Not surprisingly, it was just announced that the now failed NBC series will get another life on cable sibling Bravo.

Separately, Carat just learned that NBC drama Las Vegas esta muerto (no longer lives). The series, now in its fifth season, was forced into a strike-induced hiatus in the middle of a two-part cliffhanger. NBC decided against producing any additional episodes for this season and opted against renewing it for next season. The show had been averaging 7.1 million total viewers and is ranked #78 in the demo, season-to-date.

See the primetime grids below in the pdf download link.