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'Sarah Connor' Scribe Misses Own Party

Josh Friedman did not enjoy watching the World Series on Fox last month—and it had nothing to do with analyst Tim McCarver or any gratuitous Taco Bell promotions.

It was the looming writers' strike that marred what should have been a triumphant curtain-raiser for the executive producer, whose midseason series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, was set to get a massive promotional push from Fox during the series.

As first reported in B&C (Oct. 22), Fox gave Friedman's show the biggest splash for a midseason program in recent memory, airing a 45-second trailer over the course of the Series broadcasts.

But all he could think about was how he'd likely be sidelined by the strike long before the show premieres.

Worse still: Friedman is a Rockies fan who had to watch the Colorado club get swept by the Boston Red Sox.

“It was doubly painful,” he says. “I don't know why I kept watching.”

Friedman, whose screenwriting credits include the 1995 War of the Worlds remake, says nine of the 13 episodes have been shot. But thanks to the strike, he won't be involved in any editing or other duties for most of them.

“It is really frustrating because Fox did such a wonderful job promoting it; it kills me not to be a part of it,” he says. “But I won't have anything to do with it now to the point, if they had a premiere party, I'd be hard-pressed to even go.”

While his show will likely go on without him when Fox premieres it over two nights, Jan. 13 and 14, Friedman is still writing for his blog, “I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing,” at hucksblog.blogspot.com.

In a post last Tuesday, he laments how the strike has kept him from tending to those beloved nine episodes: “Unfortunately, I've only locked picture on the pilot, and each one of those other eight precious little diamonds is now sitting uneasily in an editing bay like a toddler whose parent has passed out on the couch from too much Vicodin.”

Capturing the general uncertainty of the situation, he wonders: “What will happen to our work of the last year? Couldn't tell you.”

Late Night Letdown

With all signs pointing to a protracted strike that could outlast the broadcast season, fans of House, Grey's Anatomy and other scripted primetime hits can at least ration out the remaining episodes and hope a miraculous resolution will come before they run out. But for late-night fans, it's cold turkey.

And as the strike brought production on late-night shows to a halt last week, it was the ticket holders who got the rawest deal.

Those who'd waited and planned months in advance in hopes of watching a taping of their favorite show began receiving calls and e-mails from audience coordinators bearing the bad news.

Coordinators for CBS' Late Show With David Letterman have been calling ticket holders to tell them the New York-based show isn't taping but assure them they can reschedule when production resumes. The Tonight Show folks in Burbank, Calif., sent out personalized e-mails and posted a hotline number (818-840-3537) on the Website with information.

As with most taped shows, tickets for NBC's Tonight, which seats about 380, generally aren't guaranteed—viewers show up in person with the ticket and hope to get a seat. But bumped ticket holders are now being told they can get guaranteed tickets for a date in the future if they leave word on the hotline. (Plus, those who showed up at the studio left with Tonight Show swag!)

Audience hopefuls for NBC's Late Night With Conan O'Brien, which seats about 160, weren't so lucky. The show can't guarantee future tickets.

Comedy Central also isn't guaranteeing future tickets for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart or The Colbert Report (about 200 and 125 seats, respectively). But the mass e-mail they sent to ticket holders—telling them their “cancelled show tickets will NOT be rescheduled” and that they'll have to “start the process again” (harsh!)—touched on a sentiment TV fans can get behind: “Of course, we are all hoping for a speedy resolution to the labor dispute.”

The networks will continue with reruns as they reassess the situation.

With Ben Grossman and Anne Becker

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