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The Strike Goes On...And So Does 'Family Guy'?

Seth_macfarlane_2 The WGA strike is deep into its second week, and many scripted shows are already running out of new episodes. But FOX has another new episode of the long-running (though on-and-off) animated series Family Guy scheduled to air this Sunday.

Zap2It reports, "According to the industry trade papers, the last Family Guy episode completed before the start of the Writers Guild strike aired last Sunday night."

From Zap2It:

Series creator/producer/star Seth MacFarlane is saying that the episode may have been close to completion before the strike, but that the finishing touches were done without the striking MacFarlane's blessing.

MacFarlane colorfully told Variety that he hopes FOX will decide not to air the new episode, completed by the folks within 20th Century Fox TV, saying "It would just be a colossal dick move if they did that."

At least two additional episodes were in a similar state of pre-strike near-completeness, and MacFarlane lacks any sort of television equivalent to final cut, meaning that the studio has the right to deliver episodes to the network for airing without the creator's sign-off.

Family Guy's Peter Griffin offers his (unauthorized) explanation of the strike:

Family Guy Writer's Strike Clip - Funny blooper videos are here

Meanwhile, other TV shows are seeing the strike as a blessing of sorts, according to the New York Times. Even though conventional wisdom has led to the belief that new shows would feel the hardest blows from a work stoppage (because audiences haven't gotten a chance to become invested in a new show before it runs out of new episodes and gets yanked off the air), many producers say that this might actually give fledgling series the best chance for survival.

Bill Carter explains:

Very soon the networks will begin running low on original scripted episodes of shows. Any new episode will become an increasingly valuable commodity. No network is going to waste bought-and-paid-for episodes. So the marginal shows will stay on until their episodes run out, which, in most cases, will mean sometime between now and the end of January.

The executives pointed to specific shows that might have been facing cancellation or at least trips to the hiatus shelf in previous television seasons. Now, thanks to the strike, these shows will surely get to run their full complement of episodes — and perhaps win a shot at coming back next year.

And shows scheduled to premiere in January, like Cashmere Mafia on ABC and The Sarah Connor Chronicles on FOX, most likely will not have to compete with hits like Grey's Anatomy and House.

So even though the ongoing strike is wreaking short-term havoc in your TV schedule, in the long run it could result in the survival of more new series for the seasons to come.

-- Daniel Lehman

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