I love a rerun, it has to be said. There’s something so wholesome, comforting and familiar about re-watching Ugly Betty for the fifth or fifth hundredth time. The reason reruns are so comforting, I could argue, is that they provide familiarity in an era where we are bombarded by hundreds of new shows each year. Shows from a pre-streaming era – from Friends to Mad Man – remind us of a time where quality pioneered over quantity. However, if all I was offered was reruns of old shows, I’m sure I will feel differently.

The fallout from strikes that have tens of thousands of actors and writers walking picket lines, along with industry wide cost-cutting, will soon be felt by TV watchers and platform streamers and it will be a shift that could continue well into next year. The days of 600 new scripted shows a year are officially over and unlikely to return. Roughly a year ago, nearly every major Hollywood studio started hitting the brakes on new series orders amid fears of sliding share prices, a downturn in the advertising market and a new imperative to make streaming services profitable. Are we returning to the era we seem to reminisce so much about while watching reruns? 

The writers have been on strike since May 2, which effectively shut down roughly 80 percent of scripted television productions, according to some estimates. Depending on the duration of the labour disputes — many Hollywood studios are preparing for the contingency that at least one of the walkouts continues until the end of the year — the one-two punch of the reduced series orders and the strikes will upend the cadence of new television series well into 2024, researchers and executives said.

For TV broadcasters like ABC, there will be zero new episodes of popular series like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Abbott Elementary” come September. Its lineup will instead be populated by reruns, old movies, and reality and game shows, including “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” “Judge Steve Harvey” and two spinoffs of “The Bachelor.” Likewise, Fox will turn to a series of animated, reality and unscripted shows, including a new game show, “Snake Oil,” hosted by Mr. Spade.

If the labour disputes drag into October, a majority of the American television premieres expected to air by January will experience some form of delay, a trend that would continue for much of the rest of the year, according to Ampere. If the strike lasts until the end of 2023, the effects will be even more significant.

For streaming services, some productions can take more than a year to complete, so new shows are still snaking their way through the pipeline. Netflix said last week that the final season of “The Crown” and new seasons of other popular series like “Virgin River” and “Heartstopper” would premiere this year. HBO still has “True Detective” set to premiere this year, as well as “The Regime,” a limited series starring Kate Winslet that will premiere in 2024. The latest season of the “Game of Thrones” spinoff “House of the Dragon” — which is not affected by the actors’ strike and has continued filming overseas — also remains scheduled for next year.

Netflix already said it would have an additional $1.5 billion in cash flow this year because of the strikes — money that would otherwise have been spent on new series orders and productions for American TV series.

There are questions over whether viewers will begin to get trigger-happy around the “cancel your subscription” buttons once the pace of new, splashy scripted titles in their streaming queue starts sputtering.

While this is fairly American-centric, due to the nature of streaming, all platforms, and therefore consumers, will begin to notice long-term impacts the more the strike goes on.

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