With Writers Guild of America writers poised to strike as early as tomorrow, the TV networks are readying reality shows, game shows and reruns if the trigger is pulled. Viewers would start seeing it all early next year, when popular fall series dry up from the lack of new episodes.
WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) met yesterday with a federal mediator that has been involved since Friday. Talks have gone virtually nowhere since July on issues of upping compensation for profits on DVDs and video-streamed shows on the internet and mobile devices. The current contract was set to expire at midnight today. A WGA meeting is scheduled at the LA Convention Center tomorrow at 7 pm PT.
If there is a strike, it’ll be a boon for reality show producers. "I was in a network meeting today, and they were referring to the fact the timing is really good for reality producers," producer Mark Cronin told The AP. He and partner Cris Abrego have been consistently busy with shows such as "Flavor of Love," "I Love New York" and "The Surreal Life."
TVBR/RBR observation: If there is a strike there may be more than just the WGA writers to consider. First of all, there will be a lot more repeats deployed during December so there will still be some fresh products for February. On a handful of shows, additional scripts have already been ordered to hedge the bets. But a lot edits are made at the reading table, where actors who’ve gotten a feel for their characters know what they would say and make changes to the script for added impact or humor. That will go out the window for the most part, so quality would go down.
As well, the Teamsters may walk out as well for solidarity with the WGA. The Teamsters handle live shows as well – the heavy lifting, the animal wrangling, moving props and sets. So a lot of the talk shows could be impacted – from Leno to The View. As well, SAG folks like Leno and Letterman may not cross a picket line at the set. News shows could be affected as well.