Additional Script Orders May go to Waste

by Paul William Tenny

I'm no expert on television production, having not been directly involved with any myself, but it doesn't take a genius to understand that no matter how much the studios stockpile scripts for feature productions and television, some schedules leave projects vulnerable to a strike. Best as I understand it, virtually every new fall show is going to suffer if and when this happens.

The question then becomes, have NBC and CBS ordered new scripts for some of their shows despite the possibility they won't even get written, or because of it, in order to sneak them in under the wire without possibility of getting any revisions during the strike, forcing them to shoot what they have, crap or not.
I don't like the prospects for either, yet that's the deal - NBC and CBS ordered additional scripts for Bionic Woman, Life, Journeyman, Chuck, and Cane, even when several of those series are falling in the ratings and may end up facing cancellation even if there isn't a strike at all.

As I said, I don't know how fast things move in situations like this, so NBC's order for three more scripts per show may very well be doable between now and November 1st. Then again, it might not. I know it's possible with a singular, personal vision and focus to pound out a single hour-long script in as little as three days. I've been able to write at that pace myself, so I imagine the pros are well capable of doing it even faster.

But that's not generally how it's done, right? I've heard of show runners in rare instances that wrote most of the scripts for their shows and do so at an alarming rate, but those are really exceptions to the world where stories are born by throwing ideas against the wall in a room full of people that'd much rather be writing by themselves until enough things stick that you can glue them together.

What comes after is beyond me, the entire process makes me cringe just thinking about it. I like to get an idea, let it simmer for a couple of days, then pound the sucker out from start to finish, trusting that it'll come out right the first time and won't need major fixing later. I can do that, a lot of people can't. Or I should probably say I feel comfortable doing that, perhaps it's something I need to work on.

Anyway, this may or may not be labor related, so I'm putting it into the labor category just in case. Even if these scripts are written and finished, and even if those episodes get shot, there may not be a strike and these shows may get dropped simply because they sucked, so even if 9 out of 10 things go right, you may lose them anyway.

So watch this stuff while you have the chance.
in Labor, Television


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