Hollywood is still knee-deep in a production shutdown, with daytime drama looking like the first to regroup, aided by the same actors on the same sets.
This contrasts with most primetime dramas which use multiple actors and locations.
So how will production change once LA ramps up, and as it contends with a lengthy interim period that could be triggered by suspension?
New York magazine-owned Vulture suggests TV overall will become smaller, with few multi-episode story lines or sprawling location shoots.
It also speculates on a number of changes from reduced seasons, the loss of extras , more dialogue / less action and even fewer cliffhangers.
The 22-episode season is history.
On cable and streaming services, seasons of as few as six and no more than 13 episodes have long been standard, and even on networks, the definition of a “full season” order has been edging down toward 18 or 19. But there have been holdouts: During the 2018–19 season, for instance, the three shows in NBC’s Chicago franchise produced 22 hour-long episodes apiece, and CBS’s NCIS and its two spin-offs produced 24 hour-long episodes each. That’s almost certainly over. Longer production schedules for each episode will mean that money needs to be saved somewhere. Reducing the episode count is an easy, probably necessary, solution.
The end of the extra.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for contemporary dramas set in cities to re-create Black Lives Matter protests; any scene into which 20 to 50 extras would formerly have been packed in close proximity (a classroom, a staff meeting, a theater, a restaurant) will have to be rethought. In movies, the possibilities for digital fakery are endless if there’s enough money, will, and time (cue the army of bloodthirsty orcs!). But TV production needs to be efficient, and attempts to manufacture digital crowds could easily grind the gears to a halt. One technologically less demanding solution is to green-screen in a background full of extras from an already filmed episode; it won’t look nearly as good as either the real thing or body-by-body digital fakery would, but a decline in visual polish may be a concession that viewers and producers are willing to make in exchange for keeping new product flowing.