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February 23, 2020 3:34 pm  #1

Could A Looming Writers' Strike Kill U.S. Network TV For Good?

I hadn't really noticed this until now, but there's a chance the people who write your favourite TV shows may not be on the job after May 1st. It's part of a long standing dispute that involves, among other things, getting more revenues for scripted streaming shows. 

The last time the writers went out led to the creation of so-called "reality TV," with shows like "Survivor" and "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" and its clones filling the airwaves for months. When the American networks discovered people would actually watch this cheaper stuff, they quickly became TV mainstays and they're with us still. But in the end, they're not really very good programming or the bread and butter of the networks that have been around since the 1950's. 

There's one big difference this time - there were no real streaming services the last time the writers went out, and that could prove to be a game changer. In the linked article below, the author speculates what a long term walkout might mean for the current state of an already struggling over-the-air U.S. network TV system, with the likes of NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox continuing to see declining numbers year after year. (Not to mention what would happen to Canadian networks here, which primarily duplicate their U.S. counterparts.)
The one thing that isn't completely clear to me from the article is how such a strike would affect the Netflixes, the Apple TVs and the Disney+s of the world. Don't writers make their shows as well? Or is that considered a different contract and agreement? 

In any event, they certainly have enough stuff for this year and they may be stockpiling a few already announced shows for next year. But if (or more likely when) they run out, it may be "Real Housewives of (fill in the blank)" on every station. And that's not something I'd ever want to see, let alone watch. 

Writers’ Strike Could Accelerate Scripted Programming’s Decline On Linear Television 


February 23, 2020 5:26 pm  #2

Re: Could A Looming Writers' Strike Kill U.S. Network TV For Good?


February 24, 2020 10:12 am  #3

Re: Could A Looming Writers' Strike Kill U.S. Network TV For Good?

Ellison's rant is good and all true. 
The last writers strike was a bit of a boom for Canadian shows on US TV. Three Canadian productions were picked up for prime time network television - Rookie Blue, Flashpoint and The Bridge. Both Flashpoint on CBS and Rookie Blue on ABC had good runs of about 3 or 4 years on the US networks. The Bridge not so much. 

If there is a writers strike hopefully won't be for long.  Look for more live sports or events and reality TV.


February 24, 2020 11:47 am  #4

Re: Could A Looming Writers' Strike Kill U.S. Network TV For Good?

Looking at Sunday's network ratings from Yikes, NBC under 2 million viewers for Good Girls and Zoey's Extraordinary Play. Wouldn't that be like 190,000 viewers in Canada?  That's worse than CBC!   60 Minutes coming through as the highest rated show of the night for CBS with just under 9 million.