Strike Imperils Pilot Season

The TV-viewing public has not exactly been clamoring for second seasons of "Big Shots" or "K-Ville." But if the at-an-impasse writers' strike drags on another month or so, it could get them.

That's one of the more extreme, doomsday-ish scenarios for the 2008-09 season if the strike drags on. The big media companies broke off talks with the Writers Guild Friday and said they wouldn't return to the table until the writers drop several of their demands. The guild, meanwhile, says the studios never intended to enter real negotiation during talks last week.

The upshot is lots of reality programming and the exhaustion of midseason scripted shows in the coming months. And should the six-week-old strike go another six weeks, the pilot season for 2008-09 could be lost as well, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

During a normal season, networks would be handing out script commitments and pilot orders around this time. The vast majority of pilots film between February and April, and they all vie for a handful of spots in the lineups announced at May's upfronts. That process, where the nets tout their new lineups to crowds of advertisers in New York, could be altered as well.

According to the HR, a likely fall-back plan will be for the network to bring back most or all of their current slates and shoot pilots in late spring or summer. That would push most new shows to midseason.

The networks have already greenlit a handful of pilots for next season -- such as "The Oaks" at FOX, "Life on Mars" at ABC and "Backyards & Bullets" at NBC. Those shows could presumably get going quickly whenever a strike ends and be available a little sooner.