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Writers’ Strike Threatens TV Guide Fall Preview

July 30, 1988

RADNOR, Pa. (AP) _ The scriptwriters’ strike will delay TV Guide magazine’s fall preview issue three weeks, and even then the weekly magazine’s top-selling issue may not be up-to-date, the editor said Friday.

″This may be the year TV Guide does a new-season issue and there’s no new season,″ said Editor Dave Sendler.

The 21-week strike by scriptwriters has halted Hollywood production and jeopardized the fall television season. Negotiators for the scriptwriters and the television and film producers engaged in contract talks this week under a news blackout.

Last year’s TV Guide fall preview issue sold more than 18 million copies. The magazine, based in suburban Philadelphia, has a circulation of 16.4 million, said spokeswoman Julianne Hastings.

The fall preview issue offers one-page glances at the networks’ new programs, with photographs of key characters and comments on the story lines. Delays in getting the photographs and information for the stories have pushed the publication from Sept. 10 to Oct. 1.

″We’re going to do the best we can - we’re going up to the last minute,″ Sendler said. ″We could get caught.″

Television casts and crews are usually producing new episodes at this time, making it easy for photographers to get the pictures they need, Sendler said.

But with production halted by the strike, magazine staff members have been forced to find props and set up many of the shots that would typically be taken in a studio, Sendler said.

Things also have been difficult for the magazine’s senior editor, Myles Callum, who writes all the show summaries for the preview section.

Callum begins writing about new falls shows in the spring after watching the pilot episodes. For the preview issue, he reviews scripts made available by the networks, but this year there are no writers - and no scripts - to help him with his writing.

Viewers are usually bombarded with 20 or more new shows at the beginning of the season, but Sendler said some of the shows slated for the preview issue may never make it to television this fall because of the strike.

The magazine will be able to make changes in the preview issue up to its Sept. 7 deadline. After that, the new fall lineup of shows is set on paper, whether or not the programs ever make it on the air.

In the meantime, the magazine’s Sept. 3 issue is a ″survivor’s guide″ offering ″the best you can do″ for fresh programming in September and October, Sendler said.

Members of the Writers Guild of America have been on strike since March 7. Issues in the impasse are payments for reruns of one-hour television shows rebroadcast domestically and all shows rebroadcast overseas.

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