Four of the five major English-language broadcast networks have released their schedules, but the Writers Guild of America strike casts doubt on scripted content in the fall. ABC has openly acknowledged the possibility of an absence of scripted content, while CBS and NBC have chosen to remain optimistic and plan their lineups around scripted shows.
Fox is not releasing its schedule in advance, while The CW has acquired new series that won’t need to be filmed until later in the year. This could mean that the production timeline for fall series is in jeopardy, as negotiations between the WGA and AMPTP haven’t taken place since the strike began on May 1. If an agreement is reached soon, there may be some delays in the traditional fall rollout of scripted series.
CBS has not yet made significant changes to its fall schedule, but it is inevitable that the network will need to restructure its lineup due to the strike. CBS has expanded Survivor and The Amazing Race to 90-minute episodes on Wednesday nights as a concession to the strike.
CBS likely has a backup plan, but details have not been shared publicly. Some alternative series are in reserve, but they only cover a handful of primetime hours. CBS’s repeats perform well, often outperforming original programming on other networks, but relying heavily on reruns at the start of the season when viewers expect new episodes carries risks.
ABC has prepared a full lineup of programming to launch the season, including competition and game shows, news, and sports. However, it is uncertain whether potential contestants who are members of SAG-AFTRA would cross a picket line to participate in the show.
NBC has announced that they will maintain the same number of scripted hours as last season, but several shows have already been partially or entirely filmed and will be ready for the fall. NBC Sports’ presence will help fill out the schedule.
Since Fox’s animated comedies have a longer production cycle, new episodes will be available in the fall. However, the network also has a significant number of alternative series at its disposal and will likely utilize them to launch the season. The CW, following expectations, has scheduled several acquisitions that have previously aired on other platforms or internationally. Additionally, six hours of unscripted shows or repeats are included in the lineup. All American is the only scripted show from the current season set to return in the fall, and its premiere may be delayed if a resolution to the strike is not reached soon.