The Strike Is Over, but It May Take Longer Than Expected for Your Favorite Shows to Return

The television industry won’t waste any time when it comes to getting back to work following the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike. With a focus on broadcast shows, prep and pre-production are well underway.

However, anxious viewers shouldn’t get too excited about their favorite scripted series coming back, as it could take more time than expected. When the writers strike ended at the end of September, the rooms opened up the following week, but that doesn’t mean that the actors can do the same.

Dick Wolf’s writers (for the “FBI,” “Law & Order” and “Chicago” franchises) went back into their respective rooms Oct. 4, so filming could begin as early as the week after Thanksgiving, kicking off on Nov. 27. Prep could start next week, with filming underway eight or nine days later. With that schedule, a 10- to 13-episode season would be ready to debut in mid-February or March.

However — there’s a good chance some shows won’t begin this month. Most of the industry closes down for December due to the holidays, so series may not want to start back up just to pause again.

“9-1-1,” which has moved from Fox to ABC for its seventh season, will be a priority for studio 20th Television (which shares Disney as a parent company with ABC) over the fifth season of spinoff, “9-1-1: Lone Star.” Sources tell Variety “9-1-1” will likely go back into production in either December or January, which means a premiere date wouldn’t be until March, but talks for a timeline on “Lone Star” production haven’t started yet.

Additionally, new Justin Hartley drama “Tracker” remains in the post-Super Bowl slot on Feb. 11 at CBS, though filming has not started. At Max, “The Penguin,” “Welcome to Derry” and “Hacks” top their priority list to get back to work, with several episodes already in the can for the first two shows, and the goal is to resume by the end of November.

In order to stay within the traditional end of the TV season, wrapping up in May (which will also keep them within the Emmy eligibility window), many broadcast shows are eyeing shorter seasons consisting of 10-13 episodes, as mentioned above, instead of the usual 22-24.

TV Editor Michael Schnieder broke down more burning questions and answers regarding the strike.

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