We're heading back to the Stone Age, one late night show at a time.
As members of the Writers Guild of America go on strike, many Americans may find themselves twiddling their thumbs instead of fixating themselves on the tube every evening. TV and film writers in New York and L.A. are picketing in the streets, demanding part of the profit made from TV shows streamed on the internet and made available on DVD.
Without working writers, our entertainment will deplete into nothing more than re-runs and repeats, and late night talk shows are the first to go. Favorites like The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Saturday Night Live, and the daily network late night talk shows are condemned to showing repeats into the unforeseeable future. As the strike continues, this entertainment depression will only get worse. Next to go will be morning talk shows and soap operas, and, if the strike continues, hugely popular primetime dramas and comedy shows will run out of scripts and meet the same rerun fate. Even the film industry may run out of scripts to use if the strike goes on long enough.
This crash in the entertainment business means horrible things for America. No, I'm not talking about the huge number of people it would put out of work for the duration of the strike - actors, directors, set crews, even caterers who feed these crews. And I'm not talking about huge financial loss it could be for the entertainment industry. I'm talking about the poor, unfortunate television viewers who will have to live without Conan, and fans that will be stuck wondering what happens next in Heroes or Lost.
Much concern has been shown for the well-being of television viewers. News headlines ask what everyone else is afraid to: "What this strike means to your favorite TV shows?" and "Reruns forever?" But amongst the fear of script shortages, there is a glimmer of hope. There have been some reassuring reports - there seems to be enough scripts already written to ration out until January for many of the prime-time hits. And, if the worst should happen, there's always the news and those unscripted reality TV shows that viewers can resort to if in desperate need.
This strike could very well mean widespread withdrawal symptoms, not to mention dusty remotes. So, for the sake of the viewers, work this strike business out as soon as possible, Writer's Guild. Spare the fans from months of reruns. Spare them from clicking off the TV and resorting to some other form of entertainment like (gasp!) reading a book.