Comic-Con '08: Showrunners Assess Strike Fallout
WGA strike offered relief for Lost showrunners, chance to start over for others.
By Susanne Ault -- Special to Broadcasting & Cable -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/25/2008 7:42:00 PM
Speaking Friday at a panel at 2008 Comic-Con in San Diego that included shownrunners from Gossip Girl, Chuck, Pushing Daisies and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Lost executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof appeared grateful for the breather the strike afforded, given the challenges of completing the show’s fourth season.
Particularly harrowing was the “Constant” episode, in which the character Desmond Hume struggles with his time-traveling consciousness -- a difficult premise for even the imaginative Lost showrunners to pull off.
"Normally, it takes two weeks to break an episode," Cuse said of the conception process. “‘The Constant’ episode took five weeks. We'd exhausted ourselves breaking that story. We were completely zapped. It was a good time to go on strike."
But the strike did present some hardships for the other showrunners on the panel, which included Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl, Chuck), Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) and Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). Many are having to start their shows from nothing, assuming that many viewers have totally forgotten what happened during the last, abbreviated season. ABC’s Pushing Daisies and NBC’s Chuck haven't been seen since last year.
"We're treating our first show like a pilot," Schwartz said of Chuck. "We're treating it like its been several years since we last saw Chuck and we have a lot of ground to make up."
Fuller was happy to start all over, however, thinking that the long time off probably saved the show from cancellation.
"The studio said that they didn't want to throw us in front of the American Idol bus. That would have squashed us,” Fuller said. “So ABC is relaunching us like this was our first season."
As for things to look out for, the Lost duo promises more stories about the "Freighter People." But not all of the plot confusion will be solved.
"There are some things that are best left mysterious," Cuse said. "You strip them from their power by trying to explain them."
Susanne Ault is a senior reporter for Video Business.