2007-2008 Writers Guild Of America Strike – How Was TV Affected And Could It Happen Again?

The 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike was something that TV viewers across America are not likely to have forgotten. It brought favorite TV shows to a halt and brought out some seriously bad productions.

The most important thing you need to know is that it could be happening again very soon, and if it does, you can expect your TV viewing plans to be messed up for some time.

What Happened With The 2007-2008 Writers Guild Of America Strike?

Writers Guild strike 2008
Members of the Writers Guild of America negotiation committee outside Fox Studios in 2007-2008 (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

The Writer’s Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers were under negotiations in 2007. Issues that were being discussed were diverse, but one of the main areas of contention was compensation for content that was to be distributed through the Internet (also known as digital technology) or was modified to be distributed online.

The 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike result in the postponing or complete halt of every program that relied on scripts. It was the middle of the TV season, so many of the shows had their seasons shortened and some were even cancelled.

Late night television was affected even more by the writer’s strike. They had no writers, so they were forced to run reruns of older episode. Some like Late Night With Conan O’Brien, returned, but without writers. This was so that the non-writers of the show could still have jobs.

Reality shows saw an increase. As TV Guide said about the increase in reality shows, CBS had its “first and only winter season of Big Brother,” which started in February of 2008. Many viewers complained about the cast and did not find the season as enjoyable.

Writers Guild Strike 2007-2008
The Writers Guild of American strike of 2007-2008 resulted in more reality shows on the air (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

Some series that were just getting off the ground, like Pushing Daisies and Hannibal, never quite made it. They suffered from delayed productions, and even though seasons of the shows did follow after the end of the writer’s strike, the shows’ rating never recovered and they were ultimately cancelled.

Yet other shows, like Girlfriends, never got a proper ending and just ended abruptly. This show was announced to have been in the final season before the Writer’s Guild of America strike, but the strike resulted in a finale that was just not up to par in comparison to the previous eight seasons.

Did Anything Good Come From The 2007-2008 Writers Strike?

There were some good things that came from the previous writer’s strike. Some shows were forced to abandoned storylines that were just too drawn out. Supernatural was one of those shows. There was a plan to include much of the mythology behind the characters, but with the writer’s strike, they had to cut back and eliminate many of the planned episodes. As a result, the storyline for the season became much tighter and more exciting and fans loved it.

Also, some people in the industry got bored while waiting for the writer’s strike of 2007-2008 to come to an end and decided to pursue projects on their own to stay busy. One of those people was Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The result of his boredom was the internet musical production called Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. This was completely unheard of in 2007. It starred Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris. It had three 45 minute acts and when it was released in 2008, the internet went bonkers.

What Is Going On With The Possible Writer’s Strike Today?

Again, the members of the Writer’s Guild of America are negotiating their contract. Factors include, compensation, how they are compensated, and changes that have occurred in television in the past years. Today, May 1, 2017 is the end of the current contract, so a strike may start tomorrow if both sides cannot come to an agreement.

However, the timing is a little different, so it may not have as big of an effect as it did in the fall of 2007. Some shows will already have some of their episodes scripted and can continue with production for a while at least. They may encounter more problems when it comes to fall production, though. This depends on how long the writer’s strike might last.

Cable programming and late night shows are more likely to suffer because they depend on writers to keep working on a constant basis. Shows like Saturday Night Live will likely have to show reruns until the writers are back to work.

What do you think? Will you be affected by a Writer’s Guild of America strike, should it be announced in the next day or two?

[Featured Image by Charley Gallay/Getty Images]