Showrunners thwart network plans

This is Marc Cherry creator of Desperate Housewives on the picket line today. He was joined by Lost’s Damon Lindelof and Gossip Girl’s Josh Schwartz.

Having such senior showrunners join the writers (and that’s no surprise) is proving a real problem for the networks. Sure, they may have scripts stockpiled and some production still underway, but these guys ARE the show.

They oversee script edits, rewrites, casting, directing. Without them the machines stop. Networks are already threatening lawsuits against showrunners who opt not to fulfill producerial roles this week.

The word is they will return to those tasks if studios return to the negotiating table.

Ugly Betty’s Silvio Horta, Brothers and Sisters / Dirty Sexy Money’s Greg Berlanti are also out, at least this week.

Meanwhile Family Guy’s Seth McFarlane is refusing to do any more work on his series with FOX. They only has one episode able to be aired. All three Law and Order franchises may close.

There is even speculation 24 may miss the American TV year altogether, possibly bumped to the 2008/9 season.

In Vancouver, where several US series shoot, shows were also in trouble. Bionic Woman is on the brink of shutting down with no new scripts. Men in Trees is also set to close.

Newly approved shows like Dollhouse, from Joss Whedon, are also going on hold.

FOX is the first network to have bitten the bullet with a revamped schedule announced yesterday. If the strike ends it is able to adjust accordingly to reintroduce suspended shows.

Several showrunners were gloomy about the possibility of a quick settlement. Lost’s Lindelof said he feared an eight-month walkout was a real possibility.

Finally, the ‘Governator’ Arnold Schwarzenegger is hoping to mediate an outcome. “I’m talking to the parties that are involved because I think it’s very important that we settle that as quickly as possible, because it has a tremendous economic impact on our state,” he said.

Sources: Variety,
Vancouver Sun,

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