With the WGA strike resolved, all eyes are on the SAG-AFTRA strike to see if a fair deal can be reached that compensates the actors for their contributions to the shows we know and love.
With production not underway on returning broadcast dramas and comedies, the likelihood of salvaging the 2023-24 TV season looks less likely by the day. That means shows like Grey's Anatomy, The Good Doctor, and the One Chicago universe are eyeing much fewer episodes than usual.
Deadline reports that many networks are taking a prudent approach by trimming episode orders for their returning shows.
Studios, though, are pushing back because they want some more episodes to make restarting production worthwhile.
The outlet states that the concerns could lead to many shows securing renewals for the 2024-25 TV season to film two seasons back-to-back.
That would mean there would be episodes banked for early 2024 and more to go later in the year for their next seasons.
The good news is that the writers are hard at work crafting scripts so that episodes can begin being filmed when the SAG-AFTRA strike ends.
While we don't have a crystal ball, it seems that negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP appear to be moving in the right direction after the two sides resumed negotiations late last month.
With the uncertainty surrounding when the actors strike, Deadline states that there's a good chance many shows will opt for 10-episode seasons.
Grey's Anatomy is reportedly proceeding with that episode count, making it the shortest season since Grey's Anatomy Season 1.
Given the number of series regulars the series employs, it also makes us wonder whether many series regulars will be dropped down to recurring players.
It would be challenging to serve the entire ensemble with just ten episodes, so the series could be in line for more changes at the wheel.
The decision would likely impact Station 19, which airs alongside the mothership series on Thursday nights.
Fellow ABC series Abbott Elementary was in line for 13 episodes for its third season, but the network and studio have reportedly locked horns over the number, with Warner Bros. TV group pushing for 17 episodes.
CSI: Vegas is also said to be targeting a 10-episode order for its third season, which isn't surprising.
CSI: Vegas Season 1 worked better with fewer episodes, so maybe this will be an excellent decision to tighten the storytelling.
Dick Wolf's three TV universes -- One Chicago, FBI, and Law & Order -- are reportedly looking to break the mold by producing more than 13 episodes per show.
The number being floated is 15, which would be good for fans if feasible.
Deadline states that other shows are looking at 10-13 episode seasons as the networks grapple with a lot of shows without episodes in the can and them showing up with new episodes at the same time.
None of the numbers above have been set in stone because of the lack of resolution for the SAG-AFTRA strike.
If scripts are ready, the series still need actors to film them, and with everyone on strike, it means the episodes won't be able to be produced.
The likely scenario, if the resolution isn't made shortly, is that we'll get fewer episodes and even more shows pushed to Fall 2024.
There is also the possibility that more shows will be canceled because there's a good chance many of the more marginal performers will be lost in the shuffle when they get back on the air.
What are your thoughts on getting fewer episodes of your favorite series?
Would you prefer they were all pushed to fall 2024 to have full seasons?
Hit the comments below.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.