Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Writers' Strike Officially Over; CBS Announces Post-Strike Returning Series; Remembering Ron Leavitt

The writers' strike is officially over! The membership of the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) voted overwhelmingly in favor of lifting the restraining order and ending their 100-day strike that began on Nov. 5. 3,775 writers turned out in Los Angeles and New York to cast ballots or fax in proxies, with 92.5% voting in favor of ending the work stoppage.
WGAW and WGAE members will next vote to ratify the tentative three-year contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The membership ratification vote will be conducted by mail and also at membership meetings on February 25, 2008.

CBS has announced return dates for new episodes of nearly all of its returning scripted series! Between 4-9 episodes for each series will be produced immediately for air. The first returning series with new episodes will be the Monday sitcoms on March 17. We will see 9 new episodes each of How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men starting March 17. Old Christine will not be going back into production it seems, but it still has a handful of episodes left from before the strike. The other CBS Monday sitcom Rules of Engagement will be back with 6 new episodes starting April 14. What about Welcome to the Captain? Only 6 were ordered and they will all air by March 10. Slim chance it returns next season.
Moving on to the dramas, CSI: Miami will have the most for dramas and will return Monday, March 24 with 8 new episodes. Sunday drama Cold Case will air for 5 new weeks starting March 30. The other Sunday drama Shark is expected to produce 4 new episodes, but it is unclear when they will air, if at all this season. Wednesday dramas Criminal Minds and CSI: NY return April 2 with 7 new episodes. Thursday dramas CSI and Without a Trace will each have 6 new episodes each starting April 3. Moving on to Fridays, Ghost Whisperer and NUMB3RS will return April 4 for 6 new episodes and rookie Moonlight will return April 11 with the first of 4 new episodes. Finally, the Tuesday dramas will only see Navy NCIS return on April 8 with the first of 7 new episodes. The Unit will not return this season and Cane will also not. Only a slim chance Cane will return at all. CBS will continue to use Big Brother, Showtime's Dexter, and Jericho to fill the void of no The Unit, Shark, and Cane. Yet to premiere mid-season drama Swingtown is resuming production, but when it will air is still a question mark.

Hopefully ABC, NBC, Fox and The CW will release something similar soon. When they do, we will bring it to you for sure.

Finally we leave you today with some sad news. Ron Leavitt, a TV writer and producer who co-created the successful Fox sitcom Married With Children, has died. He died Sunday of lung cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He and Michael G. Moye co-created the hit sitcom. Michael also served as the show's executive producer and helped write nearly 150 episodes. He even appeared in some episodes as a one-liner, usually the character of Jack Dallas.
He was a major player in sitcoms behind the scenes. He wrote for series such as Busting Loose, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and The Bad News Bears. He wrote the pilot episode for the hit '80s sitcom Silver Spoons. He was also a producer of sitcoms such as Unhappily Ever After, Laverne & Shirley, The Jeffersons and It's Your Move. Ron also was the creator of two short-lived Married with Children spin-offs, Top of the Heap and Vinnie & Bobby, both of which starred a pre-Friends Matt LeBlanc. Ron was last seen on the short lived 2004 WB sitcom The Help as a writer and director.
Fans of sitcoms, especially Married with Children, will miss Ron, but his work will live on forever. Ron will be missed. He was 60.

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