Will ‘Abbott Elementary’ Survive the Writers’ Strike? Tyler James Williams Weighs In

in Entertainment, Television

tyler james williams as gregory eddie on abbott elementary

Credit: ABC

Abbott Elementary is almost certainly TV’s Next Big Sitcom, and now that Season 2 is over, the stars are beginning to feel it. Actor Tyler James Williams may have been famous from his childhood work like on the show Everybody Hates Chris, but now he’s being recognized by a whole new group of fans; He says that “if there’s a teacher within ten blocks of me, I’m going to know about it.”

As a child actor, Williams is no stranger to being stopped by fans for a chat. With Abbott, though, it’s a little different: The actor told Variety that he now feels a certain responsibility to do right by these teachers – to ensure he portrays their stories as accurately as possible.

It’s such a blessing that they feel so represented by it…. seeing how willing they are to give all of the love towards us. It’s really been one of the more beautiful experiences of my career.

One of the reasons teachers love Abbott Elementary so much is that it’s accurate; the series doesn’t shy away from portraying the harsh and bitter realities so many American educators face in their day-to-day work lives as they try to prepare children for life with limited budgets – and often a lack of adequate support from their districts or state governments as well.

abbott elementary quinta brunson as janine teagues tyler james williams as gregory eddie sheryl lee ralph as barbara howard
Credit: ABC

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This is not to mention the fact that teachers are not paid nearly enough for all the labor they do; Despite being one of the hardest-working professions out there, teaching is also one of the lowest-paid.

Ironically, the next season of Abbott Elementary will be delayed by a strike – but not a teachers’ strike. The WGA Writers’ Strike has been ongoing since May, and it is now officially affecting the best network sitcom on the air.

Abbott would have opened up its writers’ room at the beginning of this month so that production could begin in July. Now, the series will be significantly delayed, at the very least.

Tyler James Williams Recalls How Many Shows Did Not Survive the 2007-08 Writers’ Strike

tyler james williams on everybody hates chris
Credit: The CW

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Tyler James Williams remembers the last time there was a major writers’ strike in 2007 and 2008 because he was acting back then, unlike many of his peers. Williams was starring in Everybody Hates Chris at the time of that strike, and he remembers “how scary it felt for everybody.”

That one went on for a while. And there were shows that, when we came back to the Paramount lot, didn’t come back with us. I didn’t even realize that was a thing or a possibility.

A strike will inevitably cancel a lot of shows. When networks have to write their seasons of programming and know they won’t have scripts available for specific shows, they have to fill them in with reruns or unscripted content.

Some unscripted shows will inevitably become fan favorites, and the network will want to keep them going – and they’ll replace the shows that went on strike if it will make them more money or save them on production costs.

When the last writer’s strike happened, shows like The Amazing Race and Big Brother ordered extra seasons because those shows relied more on live drama and game rules than actual writing. Meanwhile, shows that required scripts were shortened, postponed, or canceled; The CW’S Girlfriends, for example, was unceremoniously dumped before they could write their eighth season, leaving the popular series with no definitive ending.

Could ABC Cancel ‘Abbott Elementary’ in Favor of Unscripted Content?

Credit: ABC

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Luckily, Abbott Elementary is almost certainly safe from such drastic measures. While ABC has already released a fall programming bloc consisting almost entirely of unscripted content, they left space for Abbott to show reruns of seasons 1 and 2 smack dab in the middle of primetime.

What does that mean, exactly?

While it would typically be the case that, if a series missed their production dates for the strike, they would simply have to wait until next season, that reserved programming bloc seems to signal that,  if the strike ends in time, ABC would simply want Abbott Elementary to begin production as soon as possible, even if it meant only airing a few episodes midseason.

They saved that programming slot because it means that if the strike ends by September or October, there would still be room for them to squeeze any new episodes of Abbott that they could fit in that time slot without disturbing the rest of their programming or having to scrap an existing show.

In short, Abbott was lucky enough – or, more accurately, popular enough – to have its seat saved, which is great for the actors, crew, and all the teachers who feel the show is so important.

Only time – and the willingness of the studios to bargain – will tell if other sitcoms will be so lucky.

Is there a show you’re worried will be canceled due to the writer’s strike? Are you relieved to hear Abbott Elementary is safe? Let us know in the comments.

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