Tuesday, January 22, 2008

If a strike happens on TV, does anyone notice?

So I have to admit, the current writer's strike is really beginning to effect me. The problem with TV is that there is truly nothing ever on. Bruce Springsteen was right when he sang "57 channels and nothing's on". Of course, it's more like I have 300 channels and nothing is on.

Top 5 Bruce Springsteen post-Born In The USA songs.
1. Girls In Their Summer Clothes
2. Better Days
3. O Mary Don't You Weep No More
4. The Rising
5. Tunnel Of Love

(List had to be done as one of my co-workers criticized Springsteen for being irrelevant and simply living off past glories a la The Rolling Stones)

Anyway, getting back to the probs with TV, I truly believe that any time of the day or night, there is a CSI playing somewhere on cable. As well, at 6 pm, I could choose between CSI on Spike, CSI: Miami on A & E or CSI: New York on the History Channel. If this strike goes on much longer, that situation may get even worse.

The effect of this strike effects everything on TV. New shows such as Life and The Big Bang Theory put those shows in limbo. Their ratings were decent but not enough to guarantee a renewal for next season. With less than half of their written episodes actually being produced, there is no way that their networks can say whether they are good enough to be back for a second season.

A really funny show that actually has been around for years is Scrubs. Almost no one watches it, despite the quality of its writing. It has been around for 7 years and NBC had told them at the beginning of this season that it would be their last. However, only 11 of the planned 18 episodes have been written. As the strike goes on, it is looking increasingly probably that there won't be a real series finale. Ideas such as having the show be renewed for one more season or a straight-t0-DVD movie that will end the show correctly have been floated but nothing official has been annouced.

In some ways, the show 24 has been hit the hardest due to the strike. 8 of the season's 24 episodes have been produced. However, they are not going to be shown until the entire season can be aired continuously. Which means even if the strike ended today, the episodes would not start until the remaining episodes were at least started to be shot. To keep you interested in the show, here is a link to the unaired original pilot from . Okay, yes this is a joke but it is a pretty funny short dealing with how the show could have been had it been produced with the technology available in 1994.

The talkshows have been the most interesting reflection of this writers strike. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report have all started producing new shows in the last month. All except Letterman are doing them without their original writers. Letterman broke ranks and negotiated its own contract with the WGA which allows them to air new shows with their regular writers. The secondary spin of that is that a lot of actors are refusing to cross picket lines. Since there will be no picket lines around Letterman's show, he should have better guests. Despite that, Leno continues to beat Letterman in the ratings which begs the question, does the average TV viewer care about the strike? Have they even noticed?

One final thing, actors from the Law & Order franchises, Oz and Homicide have created a short dealing with how important writers are for cop shows. Take a look, it is pretty funny.



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