TV production halts as showrunners refuse to cross WGA picket lines
Sitcoms which have already gone dark are: The New Adventures of Old Christine, Back to You, 'Til Death, and Rules of Engagement. And with Steve Carrell refusing to cross the picket line, The Office has shut down for business, as well.
Meanwhile, Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Unit) have publicly stated that they won't perform their showrunner responsibilities either. Without their showrunners, these high profile dramas will most likely cease production earlier than networks expected.
On Saturday, approximately 100 showrunners met, and planned a picketing session of showrunners only that will take place today (November 7) at Disney-ABC. The showrunners are hoping that their show of support will convince management to end the strike sooner rather than later.
Showrunners are in a tough position because they are writers AND part of management. Many of them risk hurting (maybe even killing) the shows they lovingly created if they pull the plug on production. Silvio Horta, creator-exec producer of Ugly Betty, said, "it's your baby, and you want to protect it. But none of us want to be in a position where we're helping producers get more episodes out of us."
Reportedly, some showrunners are technically not crossing picket lines, but are still "working from home" to put finishing touches on their shows. This surely weakens the WGA's bargaining power. Also, at least one studio exec doesn't feel threatened by the showrunners' support. The exec told Variety that showrunners are offering a "symbolic show of support" but will probably be back to work in a couple of days.I still hope that this strike is resolved quickly. But it's only Day Three. And I have a feeling the longer it lasts, the uglier it's going to get.