Even though the writers have not yet voted on the proposed contract agreement that already has cleared the Writers Guild of America's board, network executives and newly returned writing staffs spent last week (and will spend every week thereafter) scrambling, hoping to save what's left of this year's scripted-TV season -- and next year's.
Each network has its specific challenges and advantages. CBS's schedule, for example, is chock-full of serialized shows, which are far less susceptible to audience confusion over a prolonged absence. That means the Tiffany network can quickly fire up production and not worry about leaving audiences bewildered over long-forgotten plot twists. At the same time, its writers will be working overtime to restore the flow of readily consumable product.
At ABC, that audience-confusion conundrum is forcing promising freshman serials such as "Pushing Daisies," "Private Practice" and "Dirty Sexy Money" to delay their returns until fall. At NBC, serialized shows "Chuck" and "Heroes" also will have to wait until fall to make their returns.
By comparison, Fox is in a much more relaxed mode. Most of its prime-time real estate already was devoted to "American Idol," and the network has long relied on spring launches for new scripted series.
While other networks will need weeks to get back up to speed, Fox is well-prepared to launch four series that were shot long before the strike in the coming weeks. It's a tasting-menu approach to TV: Each of Fox's four new series has only six to nine episodes shot, and each series will follow the next, allowing Fox more time to react to viewer response.
Below, a partial look at Hollywood's fluid and evolving TV mosaic -- broadcast network by broadcast network -- disclosing which shows advertisers can expect to return this spring, which will be scuttled and which will sit in mothballs until next year.