Soap writers prepare to cross picket lines

As Day 8 of the WGA strike ended there appeared to be cracks, at least from daytime television, who are vastly different to the solidarity demonstrated by primetime writers.

Even prior to the strike some daytime soaps have barely been hanging on. Days of Our Lives is in such predicament, it may not be renewed when its license agreement expires. During the ’88 strike soap writers were known to have surreptitiously written scripts that somehow reached the hands of needy producers.

But in 2007 soap writers who believe their jobs are in real jeopardy are more public about their stance. Several writers on The Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives are speculating about crossing the picket lines. “This is an internal matter that we choose not to discuss,” WGA spokesman Gregg Mitchell said.

The Bold and Beautiful’s
Bradley Bell is behind the strikers, having walked the picket line on the first day of the strike.

In Australia the Seven Network has had to shelve plans to run new eps of Prison Break through the summer. The Nine Network isn’t overly-concerned yet. “Numerous US productions will be affected by the writers strike, however given most of Nine’s productions haven’t been fast-tracked, we believe there is currently no threat to the network’s programming opportunities for 2008,” said a spokesperson.

In other developments, Scrubs’ creator Bill Lwrence is refusing to pen a potential finale for his comedy. ABC had asked for a script that could serve as a closer if the strike dragged on. “I will use all my leverage to end this show properly, even if it means I have to do all the voices myself and call people up to read it over the phone,” he said.

Pushing Daisies and Men in Trees had also prepared scripts that could serve as season finales. “We added several elements that will put many balls into the air and hopefully encourage the audience to come back and see how they land,” said Daisies‘ Bryan Fuller.

In the NY Times Lost’s Damon Lindelof wrote that, “If this strike lasts longer than three months, an entire season of television will end this December,” and any new series won’t arrive until 2009. He reminds readers that he gets nothing from being a hit on iTunes.

ER cast and crew plan to finish two more episodes, strike or no strike, to the end of November.

There is also speculation that CBS News writers might join the strike.

Questions over the Emmys are already being raised. And it isn’t on until September. But shows that haven’t aired 6 eps will be rendered ineligible. Kiefer may be unhappy. The strike is also affecting chat show opportunities for new release films, and it’s affecting Oscar campaigns too. “Members have to decide for themselves the extent to which they want to cooperate with a struck company in doing promotion during a strike,” says the WGA.

FOX, which is in the best network position to deal with the strike due to its reality slate, spun a line that Rupert Murdoch used today in Adelaide. “We save more money in term deals and, you know, story costs and probably the lack of making pilots than we lose in potential advertising,” said FOX president Peter Churnin.

Sources: Variety, Hollywood Reporter, TV Guide,

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