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More Shows Returning! Another Strike Looming?
April 7, 2008  | By David Bianculli
How long has it taken for things to return to normal after the writers' strike? This long... and longer.

Scripted prime-time series began to check in with their first post-strike episodes during the past two weeks, but there are plenty left to come. This week, we finally get fresh episodes of ABC's Boston Legal (Tuesday); NBC's 30 Rock, The Office, Scrubs and ER (Thursday); and ABC's Desperate Housewives (Sunday).

That's a total of six quality shows, five of which I watch faithfully each week. Or would, if they were on TV. (These days, I can take or leave ER... so I left.)


But talk about loss of momentum. (Okay, I will.) I never missed one of these series, but I'm hard-pressed to remember where things left off. I remember the tornado that hit Wisteria Lane, and that Carlos was blind -- but ask me what happened to Edie or Bree, for example, and I'd fail that pop quiz. As for Boston Legal: I'm not sure that it matters, but exactly who was obsessed with whom the last time we saw these oversexed attorneys?

I'm glad these shows are back, and that others are waiting in the wings to make their own post-strike entrances. (Hurry up, Lost!) But some shows, because of the strike, won't be seen again until the fall (ABC's Pushing Daisies, NBC's Chuck). The Fox action series 24 will skip 2008 entirely, and won't appear again until 2009.

That's presuming the Actors Guild doesn't mount its own strike at the end of June, and mucK things up even more. Let me be clear about this, with two months to go before that prospect begins looming seriously: The actors should not, must not, strike. Two work stoppages in a one-year period wouldn't just cripple television. It would cut the medium off at the knees.

There's only one kind of prime-time entertainment TV show that doesn't need writers, who struck last November, OR actors, who are thinking of striking this summer. That's the reality show -- and we need more of them like we need more global warming.


1 Comment


Floppy said:

The owners of TV networks are like the owners of oil companies (Or maybe they ARE the owners of the oil companies...) We all get gouged while they continue to pull in sometimes disproportional profits.
Throughout the energy crisis, ideas (many conveyed through long-lived e-mails) regularly have circulated about how to make the oil companies more compliant with the needs of ordinary people.
Yet, aside from the peanut-mailing to CBS, where have the grass-roots efforts been to keep the litter off our TV screens?
Urging actors not to strike isn't the only answer. They, like athletes, often have short times in the spotlight and spend many years before and after that "fame" working as hard as the rest of us.
Lean on the corporate owners a bit more. Whether you're picking grapes, driving a delivery van or doing minor, non-recurring roles on TV series, you deserve to be paid fairly.
Oil company and studio executives need to grow consciences.
Before you answer donkeys will fly first, give some thought to ways we can help to make the SAG negotiations fair.

Comment posted on April 7, 2008 8:56 AM

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