So far the only shows I’ve read about that have stopped production are Desperate Housewives, which shot its last episode last week, and some comedies like Two and a Half Men, Back to You and others. They simply ran out of scripts to shoot.
Comedies, since they are usually shot in front of an audience, will probably show the absence of writers the most because they are often tweaked while they are being shot. If an audience reacts to a joke - or worse, doesn’t react - the writers and producers will huddle together and throw out more jokes, trying whatever they can to get the laugh. If there are no writers to do that, the audience will get stuck with some pretty lame jokes.
Dramas, on the other hand, are usually set before they are shot and that’s because the showrunner (the creator and executive producer of the show) does a final pass on every script to make sure it fits with the tone she has developed. So when Katherine Heigl is saying her lines on the set of Grey’s Anatomy, they will probably stay exactly as they are written because Shonda Rhimes has approved them. Not to mention the fact that the writers are not often on the set of dramas; they’re back in the room working on the next episode!
I think we’ll soon begin to see the effects of the strike on the schedule as networks try to maximize the number of episodes they have left for different shows. Some will go away for a week or two when nets think they aren’t being watched and then return at a more opportune time. Regardless, they can’t get around the fact that this strike will impact them: viewers will leave for other venues like the internet and DVDs and videogames and yes, books! And if it’s like the previous strike, they will have a hard time getting those eyeballs back, especially if they don’t have anything good to offer.
All I have to say is…please settle this before Lost returns! Carlton Cuse has already said they don’t have that many scripts ready to shoot and I fear being left in the lurch. Is it possible they won’t reveal as much as they had intended to this season? Oh no!
Your Hollywood connection,
P.S. Good news! Since I posted this, they have announced that the AMPTP and the WGA have set a date to resume negotiations - the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend! Whoo-hoo! This isn't anything definite but it's a good sign.