TV shows will dribble back after writers' strike

The Hollywood scriptwriters strike is over, but there will still be a wait for hot programs to return to the TV screen.

The Hollywood scriptwriters strike is over, but there will still be a wait for hot programs to return to the TV screen.

Writers Guild of America members voted overwhelmingly in favour of ending their three-month strike on Tuesday.

Tina Fey, shown at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 27, is to host Saturday Night Live on Feb. 23. ((Chris Pizzello/Associated Press))

But even with writers back at work on Wednesday, it will take some time to see new episodes of favourite TV shows.

Saturday Night Live is likely to be an early return, with new shows resuming Feb. 23, and CBS has announced return dates for comedies such as Two and a Half Men and How I Met Your Mother in mid-March.

But some dramas won't be back until April and hit show 24, which needs a full spring season to air and Heroes, which missed its season debut because of the strike, are likely to be postponed until fall.

Saturday Night Live begins with Tina Fey as host on Feb. 23 and Halifax actress Ellen Page scheduled to appear March 1.

The show plans a stepped-up production schedule to take advantage of all the comedic opportunities presented by the presidential primaries, producers said.

CBS says  How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men  and The Big Bang Theory will return March 17, but the comedies will run for only nine episodes this season.

Stars of U.S. TV series Heroes, from left, Greg Grunberg, Ali Larter, Masi Oka and Sendhil Ramamurthy shown in August 2007. New season could be postponed until fall. ((Kin Cheung/Associated Press))
CSI: Miami and Cold Case will return in late March and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation will have new episodes by April.

Some shows kept alive by the strike — including Bionic Woman, Life Is Wild and possibly Cane — are expected to disappear for good.

NBC's The Office had one script ready before the cast walked out at the start of the strike and could create five to 10 episodes to air starting in April or May.

NBC also plans new episodes of 30 Rock and My Name is Earl for this spring.

And Lost, which began its new season earlier this month on ABC, is likely to have a shortened season, with new episodes shot now for the spring.

On Monday, ABC announced it has renewed Dirty Sexy Money, Pushing Daisies, medical drama Private Practice and comedy Samantha Who? for a second season.

It has three episodes of Samantha Who? and Dirty Sexy Money already made, but hasn't announced whether it will air them this spring, or save them for next year.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the writers' return to work is the Feb. 24 Academy Awards, which will now go ahead with all its celebrity lustre and traditional bad jokes, though writers have only 10 days to write the show.

"I am ecstatic that the 80th Academy Awards presentation can now proceed full steam ahead," said  Sid Ganis, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

With files from the Associated Press