Hollywood Copes Without Writers
Posted on Nov 13, 2007
Though Ellen DeGeneres has taken her show across the picket line and some reality TV has improvised along, Hollywood is increasingly worried about its wordless future. Late night talk shows went to reruns immediately and the scripted shows are nearly tapped out of fresh episodes. The writers, meanwhile, show no sign of ending their strike any time soon.
While “Dancing With the Stars” steps gracefully, the strike has left other shows limping or worse. Many dramas and comedies face a dwindling supply of new episodes. Late-night talk shows, minus their sprawling writing staffs, have retreated into reruns.
The syndicated “Ellen” is on the air without its union writers, to the WGA’s publicly stated displeasure, but host Ellen DeGeneres was sweating it on the first episode taped after the strike started Nov. 5 (with digital-media residuals a central issue).
DeGeneres extended her trademark opening dance last Friday for lack of a monologue, then launched into a laundry list of guest Vince Vaughn’s attributes (“tall,” “very, very tall”). Seven minutes to kill until the commercial break, she was told.
DeGeneres’ next line: “How many pints are in a quart?”