Fall TV Reflects the Hollywood Strikes, but Not How You Think
The tired familiarity of the reality-heavy network schedules is a reminder of the issues that led to the work stoppages.
Fall TV this year rolls in amid the fog of the writers and actors strikes. The networks have been slow to commit to their schedules, still rejiggering their lineups for September and beyond. Cable outlets have been bumping the release dates of in-the-can shows, lest they wither without promotion by their stars, an activity prohibited by the actors guild during the strike. The streaming archives beckon.
At first glance the fall network schedules suggest the work stoppages have had an impact: They are overstuffed with reality competitions and game shows, whose employees generally work under different contracts from those of the Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA.
ABCs Wednesday prime-time lineup consists of Celebrity Jeopardy! followed by Celebrity Wheel of Fortune followed by The $100,000 Pyramid. On Thursdays CBS added a new competition called Buddy Games to go along with the long-running Big Brother and another installment of The Challenge: USA. On Fox, celebrities endure military training on Mondays (Special Forces: Worlds Toughest Test), guess songs on Tuesdays (Celebrity Name That Tune) and croon in ridiculous outfits on Wednesdays (The Masked Singer).