Nov2007 06

{mosimage}The US screenwriters' union has called a strike starting next Monday to demand a fair share in royalty payments from DVDs and new media sales. About 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America are being asked to cease work and set up picket lines.

"Television will see the most immediate impact of a strike, with late night programs hit first. Without writers on staff to create monologues, shows like CBS's The Late Show With David Letterman and Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart will likely go into repeats fairly quickly. Within a month or so, daytime soaps will probably follow suit.

Prime-time schedules would appear relatively unchanged for a couple of months, since a handful of episodes have already been prepared. But if the strike drags on the 2008 schedule will be heavy on reality shows (not covered by the current contracts) and reruns.

Emmy-winning writer, director and producer Ken Levine, whose TV credits include M*A*S*H, Cheers and Frasier, agrees. "It's like if you're a restaurant that's struggling, it's not a good idea to close on the weekends."

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