CBS pulls plug on 20 projects

Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:42am EST
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By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - In the latest fallout from the writers strike, CBS has dropped about 20 projects that were in development, most of them dramas.

"Due to the ongoing writers strike, our development needs for the upcoming pilot season have changed, and we have released some comedy and drama scripts," CBS said.

Other networks also might truncate their 2008-09 development slates because of the strike. Fox and NBC declined comment, while ABC couldn't be reached for comment.

The timing of the writers strike dealt a serious blow to the traditional development season. When the strike began November 5, less than a quarter of the scripts commissioned by the networks had been delivered.

Now the 11-week-old writers walkout has put the pilot season in limbo, forcing the networks to mull shortening, postponing or even scrapping it.

The vast majority of the scripts released by CBS had not been handed over to the network. While some writers normally receive some upfront money, their script fees are largely paid upon delivery of the script, something that won't happen now.

The script purge by CBS is the latest cost-cutting measure implemented by the TV networks and studios since the beginning of the writers strike.

It comes on the heels of the termination of about 70 overall deals by the five major TV studios under the pacts' force majeure -- or "act of god" -- provisions.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter