“Star Trek: Discovery” Spared Interruption As WGA Strike Averted

The latest contract between the Writers Guild of America and the Hollywood studios expired at midnight on Monday. As we reported last week, over 96% of WGA members voted to give their negotiators the authority to call a strike if a deal couldn’t be struck by midnight. However negotiators continued working past the deadline and at 1:00 a.m. announced a new deal had been made and a strike would be avoided.

While details are still sketchy, the new deal is reported to provide “more money and protections for writers of short-order TV show,” of special interest to writers on the upcoming CBS All Access show Star Trek: Discovery, which will run 13 episodes in its first season.

Planning ahead for a possible strike, Discovery writers have been trying to complete as much work as possible, as noted by writer and supervising producer Ted Sullivan in a tweet reply to TrekMovie over the weekend.

Writers express anticipation and then relief

As noted in our last report, Sullivan was one of the writers on Discovery who had expressed support for the vote to authorize the strike. Earlier Monday morning Ted tweeted out his hopes that the WGA and the AMPTP could “find common ground,” but he also sent out this Star Trek-themed tweet making his view clear that he supported his guild.

Another Discovery writer, Craig Sweeny, also showed his resolve by tweeting out an article featuring a picture of him picketing Paramount during the last WGA strike.

Discovery writer Bo Yeon Kim and writer’s assistant Tyler Dinucci found other ways to cope with the tension leading up to the strike deadline.

Following the announcement, Kim showed her relief with the following Star Trek-themed tweet.

UPDATE: More post-deal tweets from Discovery team

Discovery avoids repeating history

Over its history the WGA has gone on strike six times, but only once while a Star Trek TV show was in production. That strike, which happened back in 1988, was also the longest, at over five months. It had a clear negative impact on the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, both delaying and shortening the season.

While production could have continued for Star Trek: Discovery under a WGA strike, eventually they would have run out of material to shoot. If the strike was prolonged it would likely have delayed the show’s premiere yet again. In addition a strike would have precluded any late changes to scripts during production.

Now the Discovery writers (some pictured above with actress Michelle Yeoh) can keep working and stay focused on the show instead of picketing,

Good news for SNL and Chris Pine

The new deal isn’t just good news for Discovery. One of the first casualties of any writer’s strike is late night comedy shows, including Saturday Night Live. So the new contract means that Star Trek’s Chris Pine won’t have to cancel plans to host SNL this weekend, which will be broadcast live across the country, without the usual delay in different time zones.

Had the WGA had gone on strike tonight, Chris Pine would not be live from New York this Saturday

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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I’ll be the first to say thank Kahless it worked out! :)

The LAST thing any of us wanted was this thing delayed any longer than it has been but I was also on the writers side here and supported the strike. If it meant Discovery could be pushed back to next year, so be it. I know how hard these guys work to get these stories out and yes unfortunately due to things like less reruns and everything winding up online they are getting less of the pie. But so happy it was avoided. Now maybe the show will come out before Christmas. ;)

OR now that a strike has been averted CBS can give us a premiere date (once again ;)).

Sadly, there are several people here who actively hope the show will crash and burn.

Praise Landru! Dodged that phaser blast!

A bit of common sense resumes. I dought that the writers guild was asking for anything unreasonable, and both parties came to their senses.

So relieved to hear this!!! It would’ve been a tragedy to see DSC delayed yet again, and for Chris Pine to miss out on his moment in the SNL sun.

It’s unlikely the writers strike would have had a significant impact on the decision to premiere Discovery. I’d be surprised if they didn’t have most of the scripts ready for the full season, but in any event, they had enough ready to split the season, especially if they split the two hour premiere into one-hours. CBS likely delayed the start for other reasons that had more to do with their AllAccess launch.

No, that’s not the reason. CBS All Access has been going for a couple of years now.

Can’t say that. While CBS All Access has been around, they may have specific launch plans in expanding the service, of which STD is a part.

You don’t seem to understand what “launch” means.

Bryant Burnette,

You mean as opposed to your launch of biting criticism versus CBS’ launch of its ALL-ACCESS movies CATALOG?:

https://www.cbs.com/movies/

They may also NOT have specific launch plans. So it’s really not worth commenting on.

And yet you have.

The quality of the CBSAA streaming service has improved rather dramatically in the last month or two, so that is a possibility.* Nevertheless, that’s not what ‘launch’ means. UPN launched with Star Trek: Voyager. CBSAA did not launch with Star Trek: Discovery, it was already established.

*I hope TrekMovie revisits their rather negative review of CBSAA before DSC debuts.

@Thorny – We’re planning to revisit CBSAA sometime before DSC is released :-)

Thorny,

It seemed clear to me that Cadet’s “CBS likely delayed the start for other reasons that had more to do with their All Access launch.” meant DISCOVERY’s launch on ALL ACCESS versus its actual launch OTA on the CBS network which is airing its pilot.

To be quite frank, I’m puzzling over why any ALL ACCESS’ DISCOVERY streaming delays would bump the network airing the pilot unless it too was tied to the streaming series’ launch in some way other than just that series’ promotion.

CC’s later suggestion that they’ll be turning the network OTA broadcast into the launch of a GIANT commercial ad campaign for a fully fanned out in someway ALL ACCESS seems likely.

Disinvited… “CBS likely delayed the start for other reasons that had more to do with their All Access launch.” meant DISCOVERY’s launch ”

Huh? Isn’t that circular reasoning? “Discovery’s launch was delayed because Discovery’s launch was delayed?”

Throny,

Re: circular reasoning

Not when you pay attention and realize that Discovery’s launch does NOT actually take place on CBS’ ALL ACCESS but the CBS BROADCAST network which is a thing distinct and apart from it, i.e. being able to broadcast it on CBS OTA has absolutely NO dependency on whatever technical difficulties arise in preparing its series launch on the ALL ACCESS stream.

Disinvited…
Has CBS actually said that? They’ve said the pilot will be aired on CBS broadcast, but I’ve not heard them say the pilot will ONLY be on CBS broadcast. Care to wager it will be same-day available on CBS All Access? Why punish the audience that is paying for the show?

Anyway, I’m still trying to grasp what Curious Cadet’s “CBS likely delayed the start for other reasons that had more to do with their AllAccess launch” means. As a subscriber, I see no indications that All Access isn’t ready for Discovery today.

Thorny,

That was VARIETY’S understanding:

http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/star-trek-discovery-good-wife-spinoff-cbs-all-access-premiere-date-1201860613/

”“Star Trek: Discovery” will premiere first on CBS, and then all episodes will follow exclusively in the U.S. on CBS All Access. The new “Good Wife” series will follow a similar rollout strategy. Given that “The Good Wife” was already in the works, moving up its release date to give “Star Trek” breathing room was a seamless solution.” — “‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Delayed on CBS All Access Until May, ‘Good Wife’ Spinoff Moved Up”|
Debra Birnbaum Executive Editor, TV | VARIETY | September 14, 2016 | 02:00PM PT

That it will be available immediately after it airs on the network seems to be a given. ALL ACCESS also has a live stream. I’ve wondered if they simulcast the GOOD FIGHT’s pilot? Perhaps, some already subscribed to it can confirm?

Moonves is greedy enough to NOT want to sap the higher ad revenue from max ratings of a broadcast STAR TREK DISCOVERY, but if he simulcast TGF then maybe he’ll likely do the same for TREK?

Re: All Access is ready for Discovery today.

I suppose that depends on whether or not you see the launch of the Trek movies on ALL ACCESS as part of their DISCOVERY launch prep — and it is very clear they are still expanding that movie catalog so more may be on the way?

Thorny,

According to Deadline:

http://deadline.com/2017/02/the-good-fight-premiere-robert-michelle-king-deleted-trump-scene-alicia-eli-returning-cbs-all-access-1201915977/

“The Good Fight, Robert and Michelle King’s spinoff series from their CBS legal drama The Good Wife, had a two-hour premiere tonight on CBS All Access, with the first hour also previewing on the broadcast network to drum up interest for the fledgling streaming service’s first original scripted offering.” — “‘The Good Fight’ Premiere: Showrunners On New Streaming Setup, Deleted Trump Scene, Alicia & Eli Possibly Coming Back” by Nellie Andreeva | DEADLINE | February 19, 2017 6:02pm

There’s no denying Discovery has had a troubled start, but it’s become clear (to me at least) that they’re putting a lot of emphasis on getting it right, rather than just getting it out. Otherwise they’d have plowed ahead despite Fuller’s departure and had this thing released by now (something they’d have done probably 10-15 years ago)– and is one of the benefits of it being streaming.

Thus, it would not surprise me if not all of the scripts have been completed and locked, not to mention that a strike would also prevent any re-writes during production, a necessary component in any TV show or film (Abrams has noted his dissatisfaction with ST09 due to his inability to make changes on the set during the 08 strike).

You overestimate how much the re-writing process affects TV. A writer’s strike would not likely have adversely affected the production this late in the production cycle. A film is a very different animal as the director runs the entire show, and Abrams notoriously makes changes as he goes. Some writers for STD have already moved on to other projects. And even if they didn’t have all 13 scripts ready, they could have easily taken a hiatus between airings for the relatively short length of time this strike would have affected the series.

“You overestimate how much the re-writing process affects TV.”

Well i’m not sure how you say I am overestimating it considering I am not measuring it’s effects. I am simply saying that it has AN effect, based on quotes from a variety of writers and producers over the years, including JJ Abrams himself, in reference to ST09.

https://filmschoolrejects.com/wga-strike-2009-movies-affected-b630825b03eb

I’m sure you’ll have some retort, but it’s pretty clear it DOES affect films and shows already in productions that DO have locked scripts.

But my larger point is that it would not surprise me if not all 13 scripts were completed.

Still, point is moot because strike was averted, so i’m not sure why you even felt the need to offer an opposing viewpoint. Probably because you just like to argue.

Constructive arguments are a good thing….

Plus, you wouldn’t have been over-estimating it anyway. I write for a living, and despite what Cadet is saying, the re-writing process ABSOLUTELY affects TV, and yes, a strike would have had an adverse affect on many shows, Trek included.

Wasn’t there a tweet not too long ago about Nick Meyer giving script notes on one of the very early episodes? He will probably not ask for a complete rewrite but they seem to do quite some last-minute tweaking. Also, whatever the reason behind Latif’s recasting was may require some rewrites.

I didn’t see the tweet, but it doesn’t surprise me at all. There is a LOT of re-writing done on shows and movies during production. A scene may not work with dialogue as written– doesn’t work as well in action as it reads on the page– or they may discover structural issues in the story that require some new scenes or dialogue, no matter how small.

A lot of this happens on the set, while shooting, or worse, after principal photography– in the editing room as they’re cutting the footage together– which then requires re-shoots, or entirely new scenes to be written to fill narrative gaps and fix problems in the story discovered too late.

As someone like many of you read and watch all the behind the scenes work that goes on in Star Trek productions from TV specials, DVD commentaries and documentaries you would have to be naive that the rewriting process isn’t a highly involved one in TV especially with big productions like Star Trek. I read so many stories where actors were redubing lines or reshooting scenes from episodes they shot weeks ago. Some of the episodes are edited up to viewing. This idea that an episode is shot and in the can just waiting to be aired weeks or months before filming is a false one. Most shows are tinkering with episodes long after they are out of production, but unlike a film they have a much shorter window to play with them. That and the fact there are more episodes to worry about throughout the year. Sure shows may not get the same revisons a film get for obvious reasons but they get them all the time. My guess is for Discovery for example none of the scripts were thrown out completely like a film may be done but probably heavily rewritten if they changed directions in some ways than Fuller was thinking. And actually I just thought of a great example and what happened with Westworld last year. They basically treated that like a film where they just shut down production altogether to rewrite the episodes from scratch. Thats really unheard of in TV but HBO is not… Read more »

@Tiger2 – great points on rewrites. Another issue with TV, particularly the current fad of long-form storytelling, it’s possible to discover a narrative problem with (for examples) episode 4, after episode 1 has completed, which either requires a reshoots for episode 1, or (in a worse case scenario when Ep1 has already aired!) an entire re-write of scenes for later episodes.

Or even if it’s not a narrative PROBLEM, the producers could decide they want to do something different down the line.

This actually happened on Westworld, I believe, as in retrospect they realized they hadn’t laid enough clues in the first episode, and went back and both wrote some new dialogue for certain scenes and changed the Westworld logos in the “past.”

Torchwood,

Re: troubled start

I suppose, but isn’t that pretty much the nature of the Trek beast starting with its 1960’s birth? Could not its recast second expensive pilot be fairly characterized as Desilu attempting to get it right?

Yes, it has. I’ve been the biggest, staunchest defender of the behind-the-scenes troubles, but you can’t deny it’s had it’s problems. Ultimately, the final product will be the decider. If it’s good it will be in spite of the problems, if it’s bad, it could be for a variety of reasons.

But you’re right. As I said in another thread, a few weeks ago (defending against doomsayers): if it has behind-the-scenes troubles, a bungled launch, is constantly on the verge of cancellation, and is plagued with controversy, it will be in the grandest tradition of Trek!

Agreed. It looks to be a pretty troubled production but I’m still hoping for the best. Trouble productions happen and with the internet everything magnified like they weren’t before. Still it could turn out to be a great show once they figure it all out.

And if it doesn’t turn out good, it might not have been the fault of problems we saw– plenty of shows are terrible and have smooth productions and no problems!

We really can’t do anything but wait and see, that’s why it’s so mind boggling watching fans scream that a show is doomed, won’t be any good, and they’ll actively try to ensure it gets cancelled before they ever even see a single frame.

Great news! Thanks for keeping us updated, Trek Movie!

I just hope they re-visit those scripts they cranked out in a hurry ahead of the deadline…

Whoop whoop. we avoid another TNG season 2! hazzaah!!!

TNG Season 2 is still better than season 1. But it has the clear worst episode of the series!

‘Shades of Crap’ doesn’t qualify as an episode.

I’d still rather watch “Shades of Grey” then some of the dreck in Season 1. There are a few episodes in that first season with ZERO redeeming qualities. At least SoG has some clips from a few good episodes.

DataMat,

I don’t think it was until STARGATE SG-1 that I EVER saw a clip episode [one padded with clips from several previous episodes, usually hastily, to fulfill some numerical episode commitment made impossible, as in the case of a strike for example, through normal episode production.] that was worth watching for its story?

Possibly M*A*S*H, “Our Finest Hours”.

Thorny,

Re: “Our Finest Hours”.

That actually originally aired as a one hour retrospective on the series that took advantage of what they did with Clete Roberts in THE INTERVIEW episode to make it a period appropriate documentary in style. They then cut it down into two episodes for series rerun syndication and then failed to keep the original one hour master pristine.

Tricky call to make. If it wasn’t exactly a budget episode filling expediancy in its first incarnation, I’d say cutting it into two episodes for syndication qualifies?

I’ve suffered through “Shades of Grey” a couple of times since its debut. I’ll never watch “Sub Rosa” again, though. Egads, Harlequin Romance meets Star Trek.

I saw Shades of Grey on its first run. I remember thinking TNG must have been cancelled and that having clips show was a way to fulfill contracts the cheapest way possible.

@FLB

No, as mentioned many times, “Shades of Grey” was produced to quickly fill out a 22 episode order on a small budget due to overruns on “Elementary My Dear Data” and “Q Who.”

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