Can you smell that? It is the scent of a Hollywood strike wafting into network executives offices. Negotiations with any of the unions are yet to begin, but expectations are that later this year the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Writers Guild of America (WGA), and/or Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) may vote on strike action if negotiations break down. All eyes are on the WGA, following their strike action that brought the industry to a standstill back in 2007-08.

There's a good primer on the various guilds and their negotiations at Deadline:

Going First At Bargaining Table Means A Lot, But No Word Yet If It Will Be DGA, WGA or SAG-AFTRA
EXCLUSIVE: Which guild will go first at the bargaining table – the DGA, the WGA or SAG-AFTRA – remains undetermined for the upcoming cycle of film and TV contract talks with the Alliance of Motion …

What is interesting is to watch the various renewals that are currently underway. All of them are happening under the cloud of potential strike action resulting in less content to add to streaming services (just as production was again finding normalcy following COVID delays and shutdowns). For example, La Brea recently saw a 6-episode renewal (four episodes short of its 10-episode contractual guarantee). Is this a 6-episode renewal to give NBC some content in case they have a shortfall, or is it simply a short-order to make sure the series isn't left unresolved should a strike interrupt filming? Either way, it signals La Brea is winding down for good.

So, yes, you will have some shows given an extra season that likely would have been cancelled. But then there's other production orders being given right now that will seek to get episodes in the can to ensure continuity of schedules.

That 90s Show has been given a 16-episode second season renewal, up from the 10-episode season one. Watch as suddenly season 2 of that show becomes Season 2A and Season 2B as they split the season into two halves.

‘That ’90s Show’ Renewed at Netflix
The generational sequel to ‘That ’70s Show’ is set for a second season on the streamer.

Also renewed for a second season was Quantum Leap and Night Court. Why were they given early renewals? Here's Susan Rovner from NBCU:

We are trying to stay in continuous production where we can so that we have more flexibility. Obviously, we’re doing it on shows we believe in — Night Court, Quantum Leap and LaBrea. But let’s hope there’s not a writer’s strike, though.

Instead of taking a break between seasons, NBC has these shows just continuing production.

Expect more signs as the drumbeat towards strike gets louder in the coming weeks.

RIP Charles Kimbrough

Murphy Brown star Charles Kimbrough has died, aged 86. He was primarily known for his role on the 80s/90s sitcom, but had an extensive career on stage.

Moving to New York, he endured the typical struggles of a young actor until he got his big break as Harry, a hard-drinking husband fighting off the lure of the bottle, in the Harold Prince production of “Company,” the celebrated Sondheim musical about a single man, his girlfriends and the couples he knows as they navigate the complexities of loneliness and love in New York City.

In a roundabout way, Mr. Kimbrough found love himself through the production, albeit three decades later. In 2002, years after his divorce in 1991 from his first wife, Mary Jane (Wilson) Kimbrough, an actress he had met at Yale, he married Beth Howland, who had played alongside him in “Company” as an anxiety-ridden bride, and who later found fame as Vera, the flighty diner waitress, on the long-running sitcom “Alice,” which debuted in 1976.
Charles Kimbrough, Actor Best Known for ‘Murphy Brown,’ Dies at 86
In a career that included a Tony nomination for “Company,” he specialized in playing uptight characters, notably Candice Bergen’s stuffy straight man.
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Picture this

This is The World's Most Dangerous Band, reformed for last Friday's episode of The Tonight Show.

Glitch: The Rise and Fall of HQ Trivia debuts on CNN March 5.

Unstable stars Rob Lowe and his real-life son as a father and son. The meta 'comedy' debuts on Netflix March 30.

That's it for today. More newsletter tomorrow. Unless I take industrial action...