The first Hollywood writers strike since 1988 began early this morning when union representatives walked out on talks with studio negotiators after 11 hours at the bargaining table. Both sides expect the strike to be long, expensive and debilitating. "Once it starts, it's going to get ugly," a writer told the Los Angeles Times.
Late-night programs dependent on current events, such as "The Tonight Show" and "The Daily Show," will immediately switch to reruns or be replaced. Soaps and daytime talk shows, which have about a week of material stockpiled, will be hit next. The 22-week walkout by writers in 1988 cost the entertainment industry an estimated $500 million. Writers are demanding a bigger share of DVD and new-media profits.