About FOX yanks 24 possibly for the season
|November 8th, 2007||#1|
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FOX yanks 24 possibly for the season info
For TV Executives, It’s Time to Juggle
By BRIAN STELTER and EDWARD WYATT
Jack Bauer will return to save the world on “24” — again — but somewhat later than expected. And Michael Scott, the comically obtuse regional manager on “The Office,” will not be serving up any original cringe-inducing comments after next week.
As television and movie writers entered the third day of their strike against Hollywood producers yesterday, the walkout continued to complicate matters for the networks.
Fox, the first to announce revisions to its prime-time schedule because of the strike, said it would indefinitely postpone the start of the seventh season of “24,” which had been scheduled for January, to ensure an uninterrupted 24-episode season.
Original episodes of NBC’s half-hour comedy “The Office” will stop broadcasting after the Nov. 15 show. Other television programs, including “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” on NBC, were wrapping up production yesterday as producers ran out of fresh scripts. And the cast and crew of “Desperate Housewives” on ABC were expected to stop filming by tomorrow, a studio spokeswoman said.
Six other comedies — including “Two and a Half Men” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” both on CBS — have already ceased production this week. But unlike “The Office,” they (and most other prime-time scripted shows) have several weeks or months of episodes already filmed and waiting to be shown. Production on “The Office” was shut down after the writers, several of whom are also actors on the show, began picketing, and Steve Carell, the lead actor who plays Michael Scott, refused to cross the lines. A publicist for Mr. Carell said he had no comment about the strike.
Several of the writers and actors from “The Office” expressed their complaints in a video posted on YouTube. “You’re watching this on the Internet — a thing that pays us zero dollars,” said Mike Schur, a writer for the show, clutching a picket sign.
More than 12,000 members of the Writers Guild West and the Writers Guild East went on strike just after midnight Monday, after a late negotiating session convened by a federal mediator failed to bridge the divide between writers and producers.
The most contentious issue centers on how much writers should be paid when their programs and movies are shown on the Internet and other new-media devices like cellphones and iPods.
On the picket line yesterday morning, outside the headquarters of the Walt Disney Company in Burbank, Calif., show runners from at least 30 scripted television series (including “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives” and “My Name is Earl”) joined members of the Screen Actors Guild and other striking writers.
As the writers (and often creators) who also serve as executive producers of their shows, these so-called show runners must contend with their own sharply divided loyalties. Members of the Writers Guild, they have marched off their shows. But as producers, they are still expected by the networks and studios to perform their contractual duties, like editing episodes that are already filmed and casting episodes that have not been filmed yet.
They also have responsibility for hundreds of crew members — electricians, costume designers, set decorators and makeup artists, among others — who work on the programs.
Those crew members are not on strike. But in a few weeks, many will be out of work as shows start to shut down production for a lack of scripts.
“We’re very concerned that there be shows for our crews to come back to after the strike is over,” said Josh Schwartz, the creator of “The O.C.” and the current series “Gossip Girl” on CW and “Chuck” on NBC. “We feel a great solidarity with the Writers Guild, but at the same time I have a real obligation to my shows.”
Some show runners, like Shawn Ryan of “The Shield” on FX and “The Unit” on CBS, have insisted that they cannot perform any of their editing duties while on strike as a writer.
But even leaders among the striking writers are uncertain that the lines are so clear. Carlton Cuse, a show runner and writer on “Lost,” and a member of the Writers Guild negotiating committee, said he thought that the question of whether to perform some duties during the strike “is a decision that should be left up to the conscience of the individual show runner.”