Thursday, 8 November 2007
Writers' strike stops 24
Bad news for people (like me) who love 24: the Guardian tells us that the seventh season of 24 was scheduled to premiere on Sunday, January 13, 2008, but due to the WGA strike, it has been postponed "to ensure that Day 7 can air uninterrupted, in its entirety."
Writers' strike puts 24 on hold
John Plunkett, November 8 2007
The seventh series of Kiefer Sutherland drama 24 has become the most high-profile casualty yet of the Hollywood writers' strike.
Fox said the show, which airs in the UK on Sky One and was due to begin in January, would be delayed indefinitely, according to reports in the US.
The writers' walkout over DVD and online royalty payments has now entered its fourth day, with shows affected including Desperate Housewives and NBC's US version of The Office.
Fox said 24 would only be shown when the broadcaster could be sure it could be aired in its entirety.
"The viewers have told us that this is a show that needs to be digested with minimal, if any, interruptions," the Fox scheduling chief, Preston Beckman, told US entertainment industry trade paper Variety.
24 is one of three US dramas that Sky One broadcasts close to their US transmission - along with Prison Break and Lost - making it one of the UK broadcasters potentially most vulnerable to the fallout from the strikes.
Production on the real-time drama is around a third of the way through its 24-part seventh run.
The last completed episode of another Fox show affected by the strike, Family Guy, is set to go out this Sunday.
Elsewhere, NBC stopped filming of The Office after key members of the cast failed to turn up for work, reported Variety. Production on ABC's Desperate Housewives also came to a halt yesterday.
Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria appeared outside the studio to hand out pizza to people on the picket line. The show's creator, Marc Cherry, has been one of the lead negotiators for the scriptwriters' union.
Other shows affected include Fox's Kelsey Grammer sitcom Back To You, which is due to air in the UK on Channel 4, and Julie Louis-Drefus comedy The New Adventures of Old Christine, which airs on CBS in the US and has been bought by UKTV Gold.
More4's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart became the first UK casualty of the strike on Tuesday.
Channel 4 replaced it with recent repeats of the talkshow, with plans to fill the slot in the longer term with Channel 4 hits such as Jamie at Home and another topical, current affairs-style show if the strike drags on.
The last strike by screenwriters in 1988 lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry an estimated $500m.
This latest dispute began after talks between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the Hollywood studios, collapsed on Sunday night.
Talkshows were the first to be affected because they rely on topical scripts, followed by US soaps and prime time comedy and drama.
The impact of the strike has widened because showrunners on big US comedy and drama shows have also joined the walkout.