The writers' strike hits

After last minute talks between members of the Writers’ Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers broke down on Sunday, the writers’ strike started officially at midnight on Monday.

The surreal – but not unprecedented – site of WGA pickets walking the paths outside major studios was spotted at the likes of the Sony and Fox studio lots in LA today, with picket lines set up at all the major studios and production facilities.

While pickets wouldn’t directly answer our questions, the issues revolve around several thorny disputes, most notably the producers’ refusal to re-work payments for DVD residuals, which were agreed years ago, long before discs became profitable and widely available. There’s also the matter of online work and other releases, which writers currently don’t get paid for.

It’s far more complicated that we can relate in a news story, but how will it affect us? Well, UK TV viewers and filmgoers likely won’t see much effect yet, but US readers are already feeling the bite – nightly comedy shows such as The Tonight Show, David Letterman and The Daily Show have already shut down and other TV shows, including Lost are affected.

Entertainment Weekly talked to one of Lost’s top writer-producers, Carlton Cuse, who explained that his team now had to stop mid-season… "It will feel like buying a Harry Potter book, reading half of it, and then having to put it down for many months," Cuse told the magazine. "There is a cliffhanger at the end of the eighth episode. It will only be frustrating for viewers to have to step away from the show and not see the second half of the season. The first half of the season, like a good novel, sets all the events of the show in motion and the second half deals with the consequences. We're very proud of the first eight but it feels weird to have to stop literally mid-stream."

We’ll continue to cover this story as it develops…