Production stopping on seven prime-time shows due to strike

Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Pickets temporarily blocked cars from leaving a parking garage Tuesday outside 20th Century Fox studios in Los Angeles. (Reed Saxon ~ Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES -- Production of the show "Desperate Housewives" and at least six sitcoms filmed before live audiences will be halted as a result of the writers strike -- developments that raised the stakes Tuesday in the walkout targeting movie studios and TV networks.

Producer Alexandra Cunningham said "Desperate Housewives" will stop production today after running out of scripts. Shows that have already been completed won't last until Christmas, she said.

"It's unfortunate. We want to get back to work," Cunningham said.

Sitcoms that will stop the cameras include "Back to You," starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, which will not return from a planned hiatus, said Chris Alexander, a spokesman for 20th Century Fox Television.

Star Julia Louis-Dreyfus said production also stopped on her CBS show, "The New Adventures of Old Christine."

In addition, "Til Death," which airs on Fox, and "Rules of Engagement," "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory," all on CBS, will also end filming, according to people familiar with production of the shows who were not authorized to be quoted and requested anonymity.

It was not immediately clear how many episodes of the programs might already be finished.

The sitcoms are typically written the same week they are filmed, with jokes being sharpened by writers even on the day of production.

The disclosures came during the second day of the strike by the Writers Guild of America against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Pickets returned to studios in Los Angeles and New York.

In Toluca Lake, near Warner Bros. studio, writers converged on a house serving as a location shoot for "Desperate Housewives."

"We write the story-a, Eva Longoria," about 30 strikers chanted, referring to a star of the hit ABC show.

Shooting continued Tuesday inside the house despite the protests, said Chandler Hayes, a spokesman for ABC.

Marc Cherry, executive producer and creator of the show, said the writers had his blessing to picket as long as they were respectful to the actors.

Longoria left the house and handed out pizza to strikers.

"We are done, and we'll be on the lines supporting you," she told them.

"I have a whole crew that will have a terrible holiday season because there's no resolution," she said. "I care about people losing their homes, I care about my hair and makeup artists who can't make ends meet."

The strike began Monday after last-minute negotiations failed to produce a deal on how much writers are paid when shows are offered on the Internet.

No new negotiations were scheduled.

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