DAVID BIANCULLI

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Viewers Held Hostage, Day 100: Our Long National TV Nightmare Is Over
February 13, 2008  | By David Bianculli
 
When Writers Guild of America members voted yesterday to authorize an end to the strike, it had been exactly 100 days, by my count, since the strike began on Nov. 5, 2007. And I'm pretty sure I'm counting correctly, since that was the day, by coincidence, I launched TV WORTH WATCHING.

Welcome back, TV writers. It's been increasingly lonely here without you.

But let's celebrate, for several reasons. Already, the networks have made some good decisions and announced some heartwarming renewals. I'm thrilled that ABC's Pushing Daisies will be back next fall, that Lost will try to squeeze in a handful of more episodes before the season ends, and that NBC looks to be bringing back Chuck. If NBC shows some taste - an increasingly long shot, these days, apparently - and renews Friday Night Lights for a third season, then long-term TV prospects for a return to quality will be quite nice, thank you.

a-daily-show.jpg

Meanwhile, there are the short-term rewards to enjoy. The talk-show hosts who have done without writers - Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert - all should have them back today, and launch their reopening nights this evening. That's right - A Daily Show, beginning tonight, will have its writers on board, and be The Daily Show again. On Friday, Bill Maher will follow suit, and probably present his first new "New Rules" in more than 100 days.

Backstage, the booking wars already have accelerated and turned nasty again, as some guests booked on the CBS shows during the strike are trying to shift back to the higher-rated Tonight Show now that picket lines are down. Does loyalty and commitment mean nothing? In late night, in some quarters, apparently not.

But moving ahead is an exciting prospect nonetheless. Within days, Lorne Michaels will decide upon, and announce, the first Saturday Night Live guest host in more than three months. Next come the first sitcoms to have started production... and slowly but surely, things on TV will start approaching normal.

And yes, in this instance, that's a good thing.

 
 
 
 
 
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