The writers’ strike has only been going since Monday but there’s already fear that a lack of new content might spell an early end for network series. Just ask Craig Wright, the creator and co-executive producer of ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money.
Dirty Sexy Money follows the trials and tribulations of good guy lawyer Nick George (Peter Krause) who tries to keep his morals intact while cleaning up the legal and PR messes of the powerful Darling family. The series also stars Donald Sutherland, Jill Clayburgh, William Baldwin, Natalie Zea, Glenn Fitzgerald, Seth Gabel, Samaire Armstrong, and Zoe McLellan.
Money got some positive buzz prior to its debut and the premiere attracted a decent 10.4 million viewers. The ratings have slowly declined over the past six weeks with last week’s episode attracting 8.4 million, a series low. Those numbers aren’t great but it is handily beating NBC’s Life and holding its own up against CBS’ CSI: NY.
ABC initially ordered 13 episodes of Money but, unlike Pushing Daisies and Samantha Who?, the network has not had enough faith to order production of a full season of 22 episodes. On October 25th, ABC ordered three additional Money scripts, likely trying to stockpile some scripts in anticipation of the strike. All in all, it looks like ABC has some faith in the drama but is still on the fence.
Of the 13 episodes that were ordered, production of 10 have been finished. All 13 scripts have been completed and filming on episode 11 is scheduled to begin soon. It seems unlikely however that production will continue as planned since many other series have been shutting down either in support of the writers or due to picketing interruptions.
The 10th episode of Money is a Christmas episode entitled “The Nutcracker.” The series is being pre-empted tonight for the Country Music Awards which leaves four episodes of Money to be aired prior to the holiday. If the writers’ strike continues into next year, “Nutcracker” could be the series’ premature finale.
Series creator Wright supports the WGA strike but seems pessimistic about Money’s chances for survival. He told the Chicago Tribune, “I believe the show might end with Episode 10 — that might be the last one aired.”
Wright believes that Nick’s journey mirrors that of many Hollywood writers and said, ” [Nick’s] someone who starts out moral and gets slowly deeper into a world” where his formerly trusty moral compass becomes unreliable. He told his writers last summer, “If you’re going to write for this show, you need to commit to examining the questions you face as a rising interloper in a world of radical privilege. You need to write your journey.”
For the midseason, Wright says he envisioned Nick in an incredibly expensive New York apartment that was paid for with the Darling family money. Despite the comfortable surroundings, he’s not able to sleep. Nick had promised himself that he would only work for the Darlings until he could investigate his father’s suspicious death. Nick’s wife Zoe asks if something’s wrong and he replies “I just realized — I’d miss this.”
Unless the strike’s resolved in the next few weeks, Wright and millions of Money fans may be saying the same thing soon. Stay tuned!