The WGA writers strike that started Monday hurts all scripted shows and all of TV, but no one is hurt more than new shows who are attempting to find an established audience. If the strike were to last more than a few months and force networks to halt production on scripted TV until Fall 2008 (at the earliest), are audiences going to remember the ten or so episodes of the new shows that debuted in Fall 2007? Established series have DVDs and a back-log of episodes that can flitter around in viewers’ memories. How will a series like Pushing Daisies, a show that, I imagine, relies on the momentum and rhythm of preceding episodes to inform its content, fare if put on hold for an extended period of time. Will its audience come back? How short will ABC’s leash be? How many more new episodes will fans get to see before the drought begins?
Pushing Daisies is set to air its sixth episode a week from today, on November 14. According to our good friends over at ThePieMaker.com, Bryan Fuller and team sent in the final draft of episode nine before the strike officially got underway. They are apparently shooting episode eight right now, and production will continue through episode nine. After that, production on Pushing Daisies is finished until the strike is resolved. While most TV series got through about half of their season’s scripts, it’s disappointing for Daisies fans that they only got through nine. I imagine this is because of the late premiere date, the precise writing of the scripts, and the detailed production of each episode. Whatever the reason, the harsh truth is that Pushing Daisies may not air its tenth new episode until Fall 2008.
As for ABC’s long-term faith in Pushing Daisies, I wouldn’t worry about it. The network clearly liked what they were getting from Bryan Fuller’s creation, enough so to give it a relatively early full-season order. The ratings haven’t been awe-inspiring, but Daisies has consistently won its time slot since its premiere. The fans, as evidenced by on line interest, are particularly rabid, and I imagine a nine-episode DVD release to be a hot item if such a thing were to leap into existence.
Nonetheless, this is the kind of sobering news that will continue to appear during the writers’ strike. While I fully support the writers, it still sucks.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of ABC)