On Sunday morning I was at a friend’s place in Studio City and I saw one of the notices that get put up when filming is being done in your area (it’s so much better organized than in New York, where you never knew what the hell was happening when a TV show or movie took over your block). The show was CSI: New York (yes, in sunny Studio City) and my friend told me they always filmed on her street. But what neither one of us knew was that this filming notice was about to become a collectible. See, they won’t be making TV shows anymore. The strike has killed scripted television.
There is still maybe a week or two left for a handful of shows, but every single half hour sitcom is over and most of the hourlongs have wrapped up. Now that production is down to its last, ragged gasps, the real countdown is on: no show has more than 13 episodes left (that show is The Shield, which just barely completed its final season, and shot its final episode without the help of showrunner and creator Shawn Ryan). Most shows have three or four episodes left, and that means that scripted television will have gone into rigor mortis. For a full list of what’s left to air, visit the Spoiler TV blog by clicking here.
At the rate things are going, next season is boned as well. We may see a 2008 with almost no new episodes of scripted television shows. Network line-ups will be filled with holes as pilot season is hitting the skids and series are being canceled left and right – the latest, rumor has it, being Bionic Woman. And next week actors, who are still contractually attached to shows that aren’t shooting, will start getting force majeur letters that let them go. We’re going to see some big layoffs around town. If you were looking to get a job as a barista in West Hollywood, you best get applying now.
What’s insane is that as the scripted television world is just crumbling, the producers, the AMPTP, just let it happen. There’s a distinct Nero vibe coming from these guys with their fiddles, and it’s driving me crazy. And looking at how terribly negotiations between the two sides have gone, this is just the beginning – we’ll probably have an article on CHUD in six months commemorating the wrap of the final feature film to go into production. These are weird days for people who love TV and movies, and they’re only getting weirder in the coming weeks.