The writers’ strike is causing concern amongst networks wondering if they’ll have any new scripted series available for the 2023 fall lineup. Since WGA announced union members wouldn’t be typing away at new scripts until demands were met, ABC released a fall season schedule almost entirely devoid of all scripted television, not including reruns of Abbott Elementary on Wednesday nights.
Most of ABC’s scheduled lineup is unscripted content, such as Celebrity Jeopardy, Bachelor in Paradise, Dancing With the Stars, Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, Shark Tank, and The $100,000 Pyramid. The network has already canceled some shows entirely after the writers’ strike began. ABC announced earlier this month that the popular dramas Big Sky, The Company You Keep, and Alaska Daily were not getting renewed for another season, much to the disappointment of a large fanbase.
ABC is considering adding some new material to its mostly reality-based fall season by opening talks with Disney+ about airing some of its original content. This would be Disney’s first step into a broadcasting debut by making Disney+ Original television series available off its own streaming service.
“Certainly, we had conversations and we’ll continue to have conversations about that Disney portfolio,” said ABC’s Senior Vice President of Content Strategy and Scheduling, Air Goldman, in a podcast interview. “From a scheduling standpoint, there are things we have to work through…. The formats of these shows are not designed for broadcast. We have a certain duration we have to fix and accommodate our ad load.”
Disney+ doesn’t have to adhere to specific regulations regarding time slots, episode durations, and advertisement structures. Disney+ Original content varies widely in episode lengths, therefore its content is not broadcast-ready as is. Episode structure will need to be considered in order to fit the typical 8 to 18 minutes of advertisement time allotted to each program slot.
There will certainly be time to decide how to present episodes as ABC and Disney are currently only casually conversing about bringing new content to the network, but not much as the fall season looms over the horizon.