Not in the script: Writers layoffs

January 15, 2008 6:25:18 AM PST
Four major studios have canceled dozens of writers contracts, effectively conceding that the current television season cannot be salvaged, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The move signals that development of next season's crop of new shows also could be in jeopardy because of the 2-month-old writers strike, the newspaper said.

January typically marks the start of pilot season, when networks order new comedies and dramas. But with writers not working, networks do not have a pool of scripts from which to choose.

20th Century Fox Television, CBS Paramount Network Television, NBC Universal and Warner Bros. Television each confirmed to the Times that they terminated development and production agreements. Studios typically pay $500,000 to $2 million a year per writer for them to develop ideas for new TV shows.

"I didn't see it coming," Barbara Hall, a writer and producer whose credits include former CBS series "Joan of Arcadia" and "Judging Amy," told the Times, which said ABC executives gave her the news Friday. "I am not entirely sure what their strategy is, all I know was that I was a casualty of it."

Overall, more than 65 deals with writers have been eliminated since Friday, the newspaper said.


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