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Day 14: Viewers Held Hostage
November 19, 2007  | By David Bianculli
This is the start of the third week of the Writers Guild of America strike - and no news, in this instance, is the closest we'll get to good news for quite a while.

That's because both the writers and producers have agreed to resume talks one week from today, after Thanksgiving weekend, and, in the meantime, to issue no official press releases.

There's no reason, given the wide gulf between the two sides, to be overly optimistic of a quick resolution. But it's a start. And until that announcement, we haven't even had that.

The writers, being creative types, have tried to direct some of their energies in ways that are both fruitful and fun.

On Saturday, a benefit performance at New York's Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre featured almost the entire cast of Saturday Night Live, with SNL creator Lorne Michaels, whose show is old enough to have weathered the 1988 strike, in attendance as a show of support.

(To read the Associated Press story: click here:)

And taking a cue from the Jericho peanuts campaign, some WGA loyalists have begun a campaign asking for donations to send pencils to the media bigwigs. Here's the link to that one:

Though a pencil-sending campaign is imaginative, it should be considered, at best, a No. 2 plan (for pencils, that's appropriate anyway). The No. 1 plan is simply to be patient, and let viewers feel the increasing absence of their favorite programs. Late-night shows already have been hit hard - but already, at Day 14 of the strike, any prime-time series aren't far behind.

image from HeroesViewers watching NBC the past seven days have been hit with a chilling promo for tonight's Heroes. It's chilling not because of the content, but because it gives notice of a countdown of first-run episodes normally seen only in May at the end of the season: "3 EPISODES LEFT," it says.

It sounds like a boast. To fans of quality TV, it's more like a threat.

At the start of the season, NBC executives were talking about ways to minimize the damage of interrupting the flow of sequential Heroes story lines. One solution was to divide the season into three multi-episode, self-contained story arcs. Another solution was to occupy the time slot, during a break, with a separate, self-contained six-episode Heroes miniseries built around the introduction of an entirely new character.

Now what do we have? After tonight, two more episodes of Heroes, then... something completely different.

So much for momentum.


1 Comment


Allison said:

I resolved when you left the Daily News that I'd check out your Blog, Dave! I finally have done so. I'll admit the TV section was the first section I'd turn to each morning and now it's....really lacking.

I'm worried that the writer's strike may bring the end to Friday Night Lights, a scripted show I've enjoyed and followed from the very beginning.

Comment posted on November 19, 2007 1:06 PM

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