Seven months is how long it has been since that Friday in February when hope was finally restored to television fans across the country. And four days later, the official announcement had been made — the strike was over. It had been a frustrating 14 weeks watching little more than the Writers Guild of America, whose members constitute the backbone of television and cinema, stand up for themselves.
It only took these short (yet, unbearably long) 14 weeks to obliterate an entire television season, while crippling the one following. Most of last year’s new series, like Chuck, Life, Pushing Daisies, and Dirty, Sexy, Money, had to severely cut down their episode count down to 13 and even 9, risking their chances at a sophomore year return. The episode cuts carried over to more established series as well. Heroes completely lost its season’s second half, while most other shows lost anywhere from 5 to 10 episodes. The entire season of Fox’s 24 was canned completely.
Television watching across America, as a whole, began to decline as shows started running out of episodes. Nielson Media Research reported that during May Sweeps of this year, the amount of people tuning into network TV was 10 percent lower than it had been the previous May, and 17 percent lower in the coveted 18-49 demographic. Americans had started to discover that there was life outside of the box.
The effects of the writers’ strike proved to be long-reaching as they damaged last spring’s pilot season — the season in which most of what should have been new shows for this season were first shot and pitched to networks. This led to a decreased amount of new shows for this upcoming season.
It has been almost one year since this whole mess began, and television is only now beginning to regain some footing. Last year’s most promising fledglings are now being given a second chance to win viewers and reinvigorate network programming. Knowing that after last year’s strike the road ahead will be uphill, the rest of television is ready to recapture the heart and mind of America. This week alone ushers in the premieres of 21 of the hottest, most-anticipated shows in what ABC has dubbed “National Stay-at-Home Week,” showing the country that television is back and in full-swing.