Writers on strike feel in the absence of stars, without the yard


The impact of the writers’ strike in Hollywood is felt as the major TV networks begin their annual sales presentation week for advertisers on Monday, featuring topical figures like Willie Geist and Stephanie Ruhle left to sell comedies and dramas to NBC Universal.

Fox declined to release a fall TV schedule on Monday, citing the uncertainty created by the strike.

About 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America, which say the rise of streaming has affected their earning ability, have been out of work two weeks after talks over a new contract broke down broke and has not returned to the negotiating table since.

The late-night show network immediately shut down. Selective writers targeting a handful of the show’s handful of episodes were forced to shut down, at least temporarily, shows including Showtime’s “Billions,” Apple TV+’s “Severance,” and new Marvel show, “Daredevil: Born Again” on Disney+.

Net sales presentations, called upfront because TV executives use them to convince advertisers to close commercial spending months in advance, are big events in the broadcast schedule. image. They open with chaos; The writers pre-selected Radio City Music Hall where NBC previews the show they hope viewers can watch.

Mark Lazarus, NBC Universal’s president of broadcast and streaming, was quick to acknowledge uncertainties when speaking to advertising representatives.

“It may take a while, but I know we will get through this eventually,” said Lazarus, “and the result will be a stronger foundation from which we can all move forward together.” go up.”

Lazarus took to the stage following the singing and dancing routine of the animated bear, Ted, voiced by creator Seth MacFarlane. After two movies, the character “Ted” will start a series on the Peacock streaming network.

Previous presentations are generally known for their star power trying to attract advertisers, but it was notable that entertainers were absent from the NBC Universal presentation. For example, the network and Peacock announced new series that will star Jon Cryer, Jesse L. Martin, Kaley Cuoco and Anthony Hopkins, and none of them were there on Monday.

Instead, new characters are placed in an odd position in introducing entertainment fare, as Geist highlights the show around the upcoming 50th anniversary of “Saturday Night Live,” while Ruhle and business journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin recommending new TV series.

Entertainers and creatives Amy Poehler, Dick Wolf and Simon Cowell each spoke in taped messages, which NBC said were recorded before the strike began.

Three musicians performed for the crowd, each with an NBC tie. Reba McEntire was announced as the coach for the upcoming season of “The Voice”, Grace Potter was the winner last season and Nick Jonas was the former coach. Jonas noted the great reaction from the audience on Monday morning.

“I know it’s early,” he said, “but you guys just take it easy.”

Likewise, in the absence of entertainers, Fox relies heavily on sports for pre-shows the following Monday, starting and ending with former soccer star Michael Strahan and ending just after less than an hour.

At an earlier press conference, Fox executives talked about upcoming shows, but not when they would appear.

“Nobody knows the timing and impact of the strike,” said Dan Harrison, executive vice president of program planning and content strategy. “Once we have a clearer view, we will announce our plans.”

Fox executives say the pandemic has made it a practice to stay flexible when content streams are suddenly shut down.

Allison Wallach, Fox’s president of unscripted programming, said the strike could mean a greater reliance on unannounced fares. To that end, Fox announced a new game show, “Snake Oil” hosted by David Spade and a musical guessing game “We Are Family” produced and hosted by Jamie Foxx.


Associated Press Entertainment Los Angeles-based writer Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.

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