Returning TV shows face long road back

Don't expect to go back to The Office just yet.


The good news is the Writers Guild of America strike is over. The scribes responsible for getting eager television and movie consumers their recommended daily allowance of consumable media are welcome, and probably more than willing, to go back to work.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that we probably won't see the results of Hollywood's wheels turning again for several weeks -- or months.

When the writers went on strike and television -- and to a lesser extent movies -- started closing up shop, it meant much more than a bunch of word nerds pushing back from a keyboard and picking up a picket sign. It meant shutting down production, striking sets and sending cast and crew on their merry way.

It's going to take a while to undo all that's been done.

Yes, the writers are back. Yes, studios are gearing up to go back into production. But that might take a few days, a few weeks or, for particularly complicated shows, a few months.

The earliest to return will probably be the sitcoms. Mostly shot on interior sets and requiring less writing and infrastructure than the hourlong dramas, they can probably get product in the pipeline in a few weeks, with episodes beginning to air a couple weeks after that. I'm guessing mid-to-late April.

The hourlong dramas are trickier. You'll probably see a lot of them return in early summer, which is probably a good thing. A lot of the series that networks squirreled away for the summer are being rolled out now.

There will be some shows, however, that we probably won't see until fall -- reports say the popular Heroes has been pulled until then -- and some that won't have survived the strike. An expensive drama that hadn't proved itself might be waiting for a phone call that never comes.

So yes, the strike is over and yes, it is good news. But that doesn't mean we won't still be feeling the effects for some time to come.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or



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