Writers' Strike Starting to Get Kind of Depressing

Photo: Photo Illustration: AP (Fey)

Remember back the Writers Guild strike was fresh and exciting, and it seemed like a big fun party for all the picketers? There were funny signs, Jay Leno showed up with doughnuts, and Tina Fey was out there, walking the line and being adorable? Well, nearly two weeks later, it's starting to get a little depressing. The novelty has worn off, the realities have set in, and the photo opportunities have been taken, and so now we're not seeing so many stars on the picket lines. Even worse, studios are now starting to suspend their actors. Citing the force majeure clauses in their contracts with the Screen Actors Guild, Universal has suspended the casts of shows like The Office, 30 Rock, and Bionic Woman with half-pay for five weeks. If the strike continues for more than those five weeks, which it probably will, actors run the risk of having their contracts terminated altogether. And those working for Sony Pictures TV find themselves stuck on an unpaid hiatus and are forbidden to find work elsewhere in the meantime.

Sure, there's some good news — Leno, Letterman, and Conan may be returning to late night before too long — but without writers, those shows may end up being grim, joke-free affairs, like The McLaughlin Group or Saturday Night Live. Of course, if you think that's going to be unfunny, just wait until the awards shows come around! Yikes! —Matthew Perpetua

Studio Suspends "Office," "30 Rock" Actors [Reuters]
Latenight Hosts May Be Coming Back [Variety]
Award Shows Could Be Next Victims [Variety]

Related:
When Did Striking Writers Become More Sympathetic Than Stagehands?