The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have announced on their website that the writers in the WGA have lost more $151 million in the 8 week strike so far. And besides that, the hosts of some shows have been paying out in the millions o their non-writing staff for the weeks the shows have been off the air. Conan O’Brien, David Letter and Jay Leno have been paying their staffs out of pocket – Conan, to the tune of over $200,000 dollars a week, and Letterman at over $300,000.
As for crew members of other shows, since November 5th, the non-writing crew members have lost not only over $250 million in pay, but thousands have also lost their jobs. And without the monetary help of some hosts and actors of these TV shows, the losses would have been greater.
The Union turned down deals that included jurisdiction over reality and animation writers from the Guild on December 7th and since then, negotiations have been at a standstill. Since then, there have been many networks who are planning reality TV shows to compensate for shows that haven’t gone back on the air. NBC is leading the race with shows like American Gladiator, Celebrity Apprentice and The Biggest Loser Couples all premiering in January. Fox has American Idol coming up in January as well and it can bust out so many shows during the week like American Idol Rewind, old episodes of American Idol, even recaps. I’ve seen it happen.
As for the rest of the networks, each major network has new shows that were shot in the fall, reality TV shows, and games shows to premiere. So they won’t be out of touch even if the strike ends later than hoped. But certain shows have suffered in particular, not so much the networks. Shows like “Lost” have suffered in particular because being such a popular show and having its fans wait until January to see it, the fans want to see all of it. But the fact is, “Lost” was supposed to have 14-17 episodes this year and the rumor is that since the writers haven’t been able to work during the strike, there will only be 11 shows this season. And everyone loses – the fans, the actors, the advertisers.
But it remains to be seen when the strike will be over. There are supposed to be more negotiations in January but unfortunately the Writer’s Union will take a backseat momentarily in January when the Director’s Guild of America re-negotiates its contacts. Who know whether they will strike as well or not? If they do, then shows will really be in trouble.
But as of now, at least the late night talk shows will be going back on the air. Excluding Carson Daily, all of the late night talk shows have been off the air since November 5, 2007 and they will get a revival as they have been allowed through the guild time back on the air. The hosts wanted to keep and protect their staff so they made arrangements with the guild that was guilt-free of crossing the picket lines. The late-night shows of Letterman, Leno, O’Brien and Craig Ferguson will be back on the air on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008.