'New Amsterdam" Shelved by Fox

by Paul William Tenny

Fox is playing around with their fall schedule, pushing the debut of New Amsterdam back towards January, kicking into high gear its disgustingly reality-laden schedule which appears to now be eating up half the broadcast week. Supposedly, Fox is doing this, and also moving Bones out of its Wednesday night time slot, in order to protect the fall dramas because of past difficulty competing with the other network's offerings.

But I have another explanation, one that better fits the facts than Fox running scared from the other networks - it's preparing for the Writers Strike.
This Variety story says that while New Amsterdam is being pushed back to January, it remains in production, meaning they haven't lost faith in it. What this does is it gives Fox a half to a full season of a brand new drama that it can air in the runup to contract negotiations between SAG and the studios. While the Writers Guild is talking with the studios right now in advance of their contract ending in October, it seems as if the WGA plans on a mutual agreement with the studios that would have writers continue working without contracts, under the conditions of the previous contract they are now trying to replace.

This stall tactic by the guild would allow it to strengthen its bargaining position by creating the threat of a potential double strike between the WGA, and SAG. This wasn't possible three years ago, when both SAG and the Directors Guild negotiated new contracts ahead of schedule.

I think the studios are betting on a strike at some point. Rumors of script stockpiling and a verifiable increase in production rates make this a solid bet. By holding back New Amsterdam but still producing the series, it gives Fox something it can air if there is a strike, giving it a chance to try to break the strike by holding out with that series, plus an onslaught of cheap, new reality programming.

Studio and network greed knows no bounds.


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