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WGA Strike: Math Not "Adding Up" As Shows Disappear

Wednesday, 5 Dec 2007 | 12:45 PM ET
Writers Guild of America
CNBC.com
Writers Guild of America

Now that the press blackout has been lifted on the Writers Guild strike talks, we're getting some insight into the ongoing haggling over offers and counteroffers. Last night the WGA released analysis of the producers association, the AMPTP's deal, saying that it would cost the companies $151 million over three years, and some studios would pay very little--MGM would pay only an additional $320,000 per year to writers.

The writers are taking issue with the AMPTP's math. The AMPTP says its proposal would give $130 million over three years, the WGA says their offer is worth only $32 million. The WGA also warns if you include the companies "regressive proposal on 'promotional use' (streaming TV shows and feature films in their entirety for free) writers could potentially lose $100 million in income over the course of this contract.

He said, she said, but at least they're still negotiating. There's no time to waste, everyone would like this to resolve before the holidays, which in Hollywood terms, means within the next week and a half.

What's the latest impact of the strike? Well, I'm really annoyed that there are no more episodes of 'The Office' or "30 Rock," and to be perfectly frank, I'd like some more "Grey's Anatomy" too. But there will be some scripted midseason replacements--CBS has "Jericho" ready for air this winter. And NBC will put on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" episodes which premiered on USA on the network.

But for the most part, scripted programming is dwindling, so the networks are starting to ramp up reality. CBS says it will introduce several new reality shows and midseason replacements, including "Big Brother," which has never before done a winter season, usually it's summer fare. NBC has "Celebrity Apprentice" and a new "American Gladiators," plus more of its popular game shows "1 vs. 100" and "The Biggest Loser." Fox will dominate with "American Idol" (as usual) and its raft of reality TV. ABC hasn't announced any changes just yet.

And don't be mistaken, the writers are very, very busy. They're out there making statements and trying their skills at writing and directing. YouTube is populated by videos from striking writers-- here are some of my favorites:

Cute Animals on Strike

*Not* the daily show, With Some Writer

From the National Lampoon

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.