So, How Badly Will the Writers’ Strike Screw Up the Fall?

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Photo: Photo-illustration: AP

Sure, it messed up The Office and delayed new episodes of 24 until 2009, but when it was happening, wasn't the writers' strike sort of fun? There were free cupcakes and Tina Fey's hilarious picket signs more than filled the void left by the late-night comedians. But then, reality set in, literally, with this summer's glut of awful unscripted shows. And it turns out we may not yet have seen the worst of it!

Faced with fewer (and probably crappier) new shows than usual this fall, networks are unsure of how to how to promote their lineups, says the Post. Already today we've heard about NBC's problems, but ABC doesn't seem to be having it any easier — neither of their two new shows even have finished pilots. "We have two programs where we don't physically have the shows in house yet," says Mike Benson, ABC Entertainment's head of marketing. "The other issue we're dealing with is sophomore shows that have been off the air since September."

Could the fall's movies be just as doomed? According to Reuters, the selection at this year's Venice Film Festival, currently in progress, has so far underwhelmed ("What the festival has shown is that 2008 is simply a bad year for film," says Variety's Jay Weissberg), with only Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (an adaptation of The Little Mermaid) sparking much critical interest. Much of the fest's "Hollywood-light" lineup is being blamed on the writers' strike. Additionally, the L.A. Times reports, only two American-made movies were deemed good enough to screen at the currently under way Telluride Film Festival.

Are things really as dire as they sound? Will this be the fall that video games finally become popular? And does this mean that Wall-E might actually have a shot at winning Best Picture? If it does, you can probably blame it on Tina Fey!

Films flounder as Venice festival hits halfway [Reuters]
Telluride: The Quiet Americans [Entertainment News & Buzz/LAT]
TV CHANNEL BLUES [NYP]