Okay, see, here's the thing with creating a hit television show: If it were easy, everyone would do it. Yes, the studios could cancel series just to punish writers, but more likely, if they cancel anything, they're just using the strike as an excuse to cut back the dead wood (not to be confused with the divine Deadwood, which totally needs to be brought back). If a show is already in its death throes, the strike is a convenient excuse for the networks to euthanize it; but if a show is doing even marginally well, it should survive relatively unscathed.
Grace in Boise, Idaho: I'm loving Samantha Who?. Will it survive the strike?
It should. I spoke with executive producer Don Todd, who told me that although it pains him to have someone else directing his series right now (an episode he penned, no less), he feels pretty confident Samantha will survive poststrike, thanks to the show's rock-solid ratings so far. Say it with me now: It better!
Chris in Shreveport, Louisiana: Do you know how many episodes Heroes has in the can before they start airing reruns?
They'll have 13 done. Depending on how the networks schedules them, we could see the last three in early December, or they might hold them until January or February.
Karolina in Delphi, Indiana: It's nice to see all the TV stars come out and support the writers. I enjoyed your pictures of the Grey's Anatomy, Brothers & Sisters and Ugly Betty casts picketing. What other stars have you seen out and about?
Kelsey Grammer came to the rally in front of Fox on Friday. Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton picketed outside Paramount Thursday, and we spotted Chris Lowell (of Private Practice and Veronica Mars fame) at the Ugly Betty protest outside Raleigh Studios. Private Practice also films there.
Keith in Topeka, Kansas: Have you talked to Bryan Fuller lately? Do we know how long until the strike affects Pushing Daisies?
Pushing Daisies finished nine scripts before the strike went into effect. The "Corpsicle" episode, in which bodies are hidden in snowmen, probably will air in mid-December, and it's the last episode we'll see for a while. Sniff.
Blake in Memphis, Tennessee: I have been wondering ever since the strike began what is going to happen with the shows we know for certain are in their last season, such as Scrubs, The Shield and Battlestar Galactica. I don't think I could take it if the strike ends up leaving some things from these shows unresolved for good.
The series finale of The Shield began production this week, so it will finish its complete run on FX. Battlestar Galactica is Sci Fi's crown jewel, so it's likely that no matter what happens, BSG will be permitted to finish its run. Scrubs, however, was already on thin ice with NBC, and Bill Lawrence has refused to pen a backup ending for the series. It sounds a wee bit nasty—you can read about it in the Hollywood Reporter.
Allie in Victoria, Australia: I'm dying without Burn Notice. How long do we have to wait for season two (assuming the writers' strike doesn't impact it)? Do you have any scoop to tide me over while I'm waiting?
If things weren't totally frakked up, it would premiere next summer, so no scoop yet, but we did corner Burn Notice creator Matt Nix and ask him how things were going. He told us, "For next season, we probably have all of our pitches lined up. We would just be going to outlines. So, we're really early in the process. If we're on pause for a few months, we're basically starting where we would have started if there were no strike talks."
Nicole in Springboro, Ohio: Kristin, we need a viral campaign—like the Jericho one with the nuts—to help our beloved writers. How about suggesting to your loyal readers that we all mail four pennies to the AMPTP at 15503 Ventura Boulevard, Encino, CA 91436, since they are so woefully inadequately funded (note sarcasm)? The pennies cost us very little but pile up quickly. I also get a wicked giggle out of picturing staffers counting and rolling piles and piles of dirty pennies and wheelbarrowing them to the bank. Whaddya think?
I think we get a lot of emails about various fanpaigns, and this is quite simply one of the smartest ideas we've ever heard. It's simple, it's direct and it sounds kind of fun, too. By the way, if you don't know what Nicole's talking about with the four pennies, she's referring to the fact that writers currently get $.04 for every DVD sold, and they have asked for a raise to $.08 for every $20 DVD sold.
Sara in Saratoga, New York: Will the writers strike affect the fall 2008 television season? Will we still get new shows?
Yes, if it goes on, it will affect the fall 2008 TV season, and no, we would not get new scripted shows. If the writers' strike continues through winter and spring, it will have drastic consequences for what's known as "development season" and "pilot season." Theoretically, some new shows could be created, based on pilot scripts that have already been turned in, but with their creators on strike, and few capable executive producers available to take the helm, it would be difficult at best to shoot a pilot.
Lily in Seattle: Why is there so much talk about the strike effectively causing shows' season finales? At some point the strike will end. Would production not pick up right where it left off? Wouldn't it be like show X, season N, parts 1 and 2?
Yes, it would be like show X, season N, parts 1 and 2, except...Let's say the strike ends in May, and then production begins anew (yay!). It takes six weeks to do an episode start to finish, and you're starting them at two-week intervals. You want to have at least six episodes in the can before you launch again...which pretty much brings us back to the usual launch season of August and September.
September premieres for shows are essentially an arbitrary construct of the TV business as it stands now, and the stories would probably pick up (more or less) where they left off, but in the wacky world of TV, the 2007-08 season would be considered over, and the 2008-09 would be launching. It all depends on when the strike ends.
Sue in Orlando, Florida: Where can I be updated on the WGA East strike? I want to go to Manhattan and support the writers.
According to the official WGAE Website, the writers will be at Battery Park on Tuesday and outside the Disney Store on Wednesday. Say hi to NYC for us!
Got more Q's? We probably got more A's, so hit us at firstname.lastname@example.org with all your TV needs and wants and confounding queries.
Then, check back later for the regularly scheduled spoiler chat, where we'll address all your show-related inquiries. See you there! —Additional reporting by Jennifer Godwin