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Reality Shows To Fill Gap If Writers Strike?

With Hollywood writers poised to strike as soon as Thursday, TV networks are getting ready to fill in with reality and game shows -- even reruns -- if the threatened walkout occurs. A wave of unscripted shows could appear early next year when series like "Desperate Housewives" and "Heroes" run out of new episodes. The timing may, however, benefit reality producers.

There has been little progress in talks between the Writers Guild of America and people representing the film and TV producers since they began in July. The current contract is set to expire at midnight Wednesday and the two sides remain far apart on the key issue of raising payment for profits on DVDs and shows offered digitally on the Internet, cell phones and other devices. With more than 5,000 members of the Writers Guild of America voting, 90 percent authorized negotiators to call the first strike since 1988 if they have to.

"I'm willing to put my family on the line for what's right," says Mick Betancourt, a writer on the NBC show "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit." But the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers says networks will continue to air quality programming nonetheless. "CBS is not going to go blank," says CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves. If the writers walk, the effect wouldn't be felt immediately as there are enough episodes of shows such as "Ugly Betty" and "CSI" already written and in production to last through the end of the year and possibly into February




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