Across the Atlantic the writers' strike is taking a toll on US TV. The effects on film production won't be so evident for months, even years, depending upon how long the dispute lasts. But TV is already taking a hit, with late night chat shows switched to repeats and traditional sitcoms shutting down. Several dramas have closed their doors and most will follow in the next few weeks. Meanwhile Variety reports several writer-producers on US daytime soaps are contemplating crossing the picket line to save their jobs. Tough times if you wield a copy of Final Draft for a living in America.
In other news, cable network FX has announced its ordering a second and third season of legal drama Damages, despite ho-hum ratings for the first run. The gripping thriller is unique among shows about lawyers because it never goes into a courtroom. The series stars Glenn Close and unpeels layers after layer, slowly revealing its characters and twisty-turny plot through a complex but compelling series of flashbacks and flash-forwards. But the mediocre ratings and writers' strike left the show's future uncertain, until FX gave two new seasons a greenlight [once the strike ends].
The BBC will be happy to hear this, as it has already purchased Damages for broadcast on this side of the Atlantic. It's also bought the much-praised Mad Men, a slow burn series about advertising creatives in 1960 Manhatten. Perhaps less joy will be felt at the BBC toward comments by Heroes creator Tim Kring that the opening episodes of the second season were seriously flawed. Kring told Entertainment Weekly the show got too many things wrong in its sophomore run, but he's hoping to correct those mistakes once the strike ends. In the meantime the BBC is stuck with some duff eps, reportedly purchased for a six figure sum. Ouch.
In other Stateside news, that beloved family TV series Little House on the Prairie is becoming a musical. It's planned to open the show in Minnesota next summer, with a possible Broadway transfer to follow if all goes well. They even got Half Pint herself, Melissa Gilbert, to read the part of Ma for an early try-out of the script. All I can say is: 'Pigtail in the face!'