There is an impending writers strike on the horizon and if it goes through, your favorite shows could be in jeopardy.


Here's what's happening: the Writers Guild of America want changes to their contracts. They want a change to the "exclusivity provisions" which states that they can't work on more than one show at a time. This is a problem because they only get paid per episode and shows now are getting less and less episodes per season (Legion, Fargo, Netflix series). They either want looser restrictions on the exclusivity provisions or an increase in pay per episode. They also want more healthcare benefits (Honey, don't we all?).


The current WGA contract is up on May 1st, and if demands aren't met during their negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers going on RIGHT NOW (April 25th) then a strike is already set to take place on May 2nd.


And if the writers go on strike, your favorite tv shows are going to suffer.



Mad Men and Weeds only continued because Lionsgate made a side-deal with it's writers, separate from the Writers Guild contracts, that allowed them to continue writing for the next season.


Many shows already had all of their episodes written for the rest of the season, but even though the episodes aired, the fate of the shows (whether they were renewed or cancelled) was not known for a long time because of the strike. They couldn't say if a show got another season because they didn't know if they'd have writers for said season! Curb Your Enthusiasm almost didn't get picked up for another season because of this.


Because of the strike happening in Nov. 2007-Feb. 2008, many shows were right in the middle of airing. Then, when the strike happened, almost every television show went on hiatus only half way through their seasons. Some shows eventually continued on without writers (talk shows) or they got non-union writers temporarily.


After the strike, because of time lost, a majority of shows had to shorten their seasons. Shows that normally aired 20-24 episodes a season, only got about 12-18. Breaking Bad only had 7 out of a planned 9 episodes that season. Bones got 15/23, House got 16/24, CSI had 17/24, and Family Guy only got 12/22.  24 only got 8 episodes, which was awkward, then had a tv movie (24: Redemption) to try and explain the year and a half time gap between the last episode and the upcoming new season.


Most shows that had already been renewed for another year just ended their seasons at the hiatus and started back up again the next year, or even the year after. (Chuck, 24, Battlestar Galactica, Damages, Dirty Sexy Money, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Pushing Daisies.)


But this unexpected hiatus led to the eventual downfall of shows like Lipstick Jungle, Frank TV, Las Vegas, Prison Break, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Unit, and Pushing Daisies.


During the hiatus fans didn't know if or when these shows were coming back, and for newer shows like Lipstick Jungle, Terminator, and Pushing Daisies, it didn't have a strong loyal fanbase yet. So, while those shows barely got picked up for another season, the numbers, and the fans, just weren't there, and led to their cancellations.


That hiatus is why we have a "winter hiatus" in shows now. Those big "mid-season finales"? Those are essentially a networks "break glass in case of emergency" scenario. That way if there was ever another strike around that time the producers could say that the 'mid-season finale' was actually the 'season finale' and easily just pick up where they left off the next season.


ALL OF THAT...could be happening again NOW if the current negotiations don't go WGA's way.


Almost all shows right now are done filming and have wrapped production on their current seasons. BUT that means that the fate of NEXT season (or if they get one) is now unknown. Many shows have been picked up for another season, but when that season will start is also unknown.


Series that have a huge following like The Walking Dead will still be happening (obviously), but production might be pushed back. WAY back. They were supposed to start filming this week. But if the writers go on strike, production moves to a standstill and pushes back the season premiere date. And if there's no production, there's no footage, and if there's no footage there's no Walking Dead trailer at San Diego Comic Con, nerds.


Shows that have only been on for a season or two are now at risk (#RenewTimeless) and there's nothing we can do about it but sit back and cross our fingers.

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