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Favorite shows to return soon

Cassie Belek | Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I was OK until they took away “30 Rock.” Then I finally realized how my older brother must have felt during the 1994 Major League Baseball strike. How was I going to survive a writers’ strike that had no end in sight?

In the beginning, it wasn’t that bad. With the exception of “The Office,” most of my favorite shows still had a handful of episodes left to air. But with each passing week, I felt new episodes slipping away from me. Some of my favorite series even ran out of episodes before Christmas break.

In desperation for new TV of any variety, I began counting down the days until “American Idol” and “Rock of Love 2.” I became even more dependent on my favorite soap opera, “General Hospital.” In the past, I would let a few episodes at a time accumulate on my DVR, but now I found myself more excited than ever to check in on the residents of Port Charles every day.

I turned to TV on DVD as well. Season 1 of “Felicity” and Season 2 of “The Wire” comforted me, as did my brother’s “Family Guy” DVDs. I even started re-watching “Arrested Development” for the 20th time.

I think most people can agree that it got easier when late night returned. How glorious was Conan O’Brien’s flaming red strike beard? I think I could watch that man spin his wedding ring on his desk forever. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were back on the air also, and I think that Colbert proved once and for all that he is the funnier of the two Comedy Central stars.

I must say, though, that the cancellation of the Golden Globes nearly killed my soul. I’m always so sad when Christmas is over, but then I realize that it is award season and I will soon be treated to red carpet fashion and the occasional inspired acceptance speech. I was given Billy Bush and Nancy O’Dell instead.

But how exciting was the presidential race during this whole strike? Why go out with friends over Christmas break when the Iowa caucuses are on? Oh, you want me to go to a movie? Well, there’s a Democratic debate that I don’t want to miss. Going to Corby’s for Mardi Gras? No, it’s Super Duper Tuesday, fools! I will always remember this election year for saving my sanity when “How I Met Your Mother” and “Gossip Girl” ran dry.

Despite my many complaints about TV abandoning me, I have stood behind the writers. Did the WGA make some mistakes during the strike? Yes. Why spend so much time lashing out at Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno when you’ve got bigger fish to fry? However, the writers still deserved to get compensated for all their work.

Unfortunately, it took a $2 billion hit to the L.A. economy for producers to officially recognize the potential of new media. The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation estimates that $1.3 billion of that loss was from businesses outside of the studios – caterers, florists, costume shops, restaurants and hotels that were secondary losers. It’s time for the industry and its city to get back on their feet.

And when production does start back up and my television viewing habits are back to normal, I can return to obsessing over “30 Rock” and crossing my fingers that “Friday Night Lights” doesn’t get canceled. And, I can figure out whether I’m only watching “Eli Stone” because of the strike or because I actually enjoy it.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Cassie Belek at [email protected]