Hollywood Labor Update: Writers Strike Delayed?

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Today's the big day! The Writers Guild's contract expires at midnight tonight, which means they have only a few short hours to negotiate a new one with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers before a strike is called and Hollywood crumbles into the Pacific Ocean, never to be heard from again. Well, not really — the WGA may give the AMPTP a few more days to make a reasonable offer, or, as Variety hilariously puts it, "As might be expected from showbiz writers, the WGA is probably going to push back its deadline."

What's looking increasingly likely is that the strike will come on Monday morning. Like we told you yesterday, you probably won't even notice it in the film industry — Variety assures us that the studios have plenty of wonderful movies in the pipeline to keep us entertained well into 2009, like Keanu Reeves's The Day the Earth Stood Still remake and Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman, still feeling the heat from the runaway success of Viva Laughlin.

But television won't be so lucky. Late-night talk shows will probably cease production immediately, throwing a serious monkey wrench into Stephen Colbert's presidential campaign. SNL is in trouble too, as all writing for the show is typically done at the very last possible minute ("Boom — our show just shuts down," said Amy Poehler. "It's just done. There is no backlog of scripts."). So what will we watch? As usual, Ben Silverman has the answer: "The most likely outcome is more news and more reality." Meaning Kid Nation children will still be able to drink bleach and melt their faces on stoves, and the news media will still be able to report on it. So, even if the worst should happen, all is not lost.

Late Night TV to See Initial Damages [Variety]
Writers Strike Reality Sets In [Variety]
Studios Prep Back-up Plan [Variety]

Earlier: How Will Television Cope With the Writers Strike?