As TV and film writers and their employers dig in for a potentially long strike, production is grinding to a halt.
Writers are in their third day of pickets Wednesday as they strike over residual payments for work distributed over the Internet and other issues. Rank-and-file scribes have been joined by a large number of writing-producing showrunners, and their presence has helped lead to the shuttering of a number of shows.
Several multi-camera sitcoms, whose writers tend to be on set every day, have already gone dark, among them CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men" and FOX's "'Til Death," according to various reports. Another FOX show, "Back to You," was supposed to come back from a planned hiatus on Wednesday, but instead will stay closed.
Elsewhere, "How I Met Your Mother" is shooting this week, as are a number of single-camera shows, including NBC's "My Name Is Earl" and "Scrubs" and ABC's "Carpoolers," which is finishing its 13-episode order this week. Work on NBC's "The Office," however, has been disrupted as several cast members, including Steve Carell, B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling -- all of whom have also written episodes of the show -- walked the picket lines.
On the other side, the major studios connected to all five broadcast networks are planning to suspend deals with production companies, stopping payments to writers and producers as well as their development and support staffs. Companies without shows in production are likely to be hit first.
The thinking on both sides is that drying up the flow of content (on the writers' side) and money (the studios) will help bring them back to the negotiation table. No new talks between the Writers Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.