Hollywood is battening down the hatches in preparation for a potential writers’ strike, and TV viewers should be doing the same.
The Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) are coming down to the wire as they aim to negotiate a new contract that would keep Hollywood working and avoid a potentially costly strike.
A strike will begin on May 2 if a new deal is not reached on Monday.
Like the last writers strike, which started in late 2007 and lasted for 100 days, a strike would see television shows cease their operations and cause a domino effect that would be evident to consumers even in a time of so-called Peak TV.
Because of the timing, with many broadcast shows ending their seasons in May, viewers wouldn’t feel the effects in some areas right away. Still, a prolonged strike could mean many of those programs having their fall returns delayed.
Here’s a look at how some of your favorite TV shows would be affected — or not:
Though some late-night programs found ways to skirt the system back in 2007 — see David Letterman, who struck a side deal, and Conan O’Brien, who went on air with “unwritten” episodes — a strike now would sideline Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, James Corden, Jimmys Fallon and Kimmel, and “Saturday Night Live,” amid one of the show’s buzziest seasons ever. (“SNL” viewership is up 31% so far this season, according to NBC.)
On the plus side for “SNL,” it was set to go on its summer hiatus after May 20 anyway, although there were plans for some primetime “Weekend Update” episodes in August.
“The Walking Dead”
Though it may have fallen off some critics’ best-of lists last season, “The Walking Dead” still came in as one of television’s most-watched programs of 2016, and it remains AMC’s crown jewel. A strike would likely delay the show’s usual October start.
Filming for Season 8 only started back up about a week ago, but even if scripts have been stockpiled, no writers or showrunners would be available to make adjustments during filming.
Related point: With no “Walking Dead,” there would be nothing for Chris Hardwick to “Talk” about.
The writer’s room only recently started crafting stories for Season 7. A strike could delay the next season’s start.
“I’m really hoping it doesn’t happen,” executive producer Alex Gansa told CNN in April, adding that a strike would “throw a completely huge wrench in the works for us.”
Season 5 comes to a close at the end of May, and its airing won’t be affected by the strike.
But writing for Season 6, the show’s final season, has only just begun. All work on that would be halted.
Fret not, though, comrades. The previous two seasons each debuted in March, leaving the show’s staff plenty of time to catch up — if the strike doesn’t go on too long.
The Ryan Murphy universe
Ryan Murphy always has a show in the works and a strike could disrupt the delicate dance that is required to juggle his TV properties.
FX says production is currently underway on “Versace: American Crime Story,” the third season of the Emmy-winning anthology. And a planned season that will take on Hurricane Katrina has yet to ramp up.
Meanwhile the season of “American Horror Story” that will take on the 2016 presidential election could also see a premiere delay. Although, casting is already underway, with Billie Lourd, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters on board.
The good news…
Some big content makers like Netflix have a deep bench of buzzy shows with full seasons completed and ready for launch.
The next season of “Master of None” is slated to premiere May 12, “House of Cards” Season 5 premieres May 30, and “Orange is the New Black” returns June 9.
Showtime, meanwhile, has the much-anticipated “Twin Peaks” revival locked and loaded.
And HBO’s “Game of Thrones” has wrapped production for its upcoming seventh season, though it’s unclear how far the writers have gotten on Season 8.
One could also make the argument that a halt would likely be seen as a time for overloaded TV viewers to empty out those Netfilx cues or finally binge on the ones that got away. (Or, hit theaters as summer movie season kicks off.)
But, the truth is, distractions in the short term won’t delay the tangible effects 100+ days down the line.