off season

The strike changed the way nets do business- for better or worse, but maybe for good

THE 2008-09 DEVELOPMENT SEASON will go down in TV history with an asterisk.

It's too early to tell if the footnote will simply say "the season was affected by the WGA strike" or "2008-09 was the season that broke the traditional development cycle," but it certainly jolted some decades-old TV rituals.

It started off with a buying frenzy in the summer, as networks frantically stocked up in the event of a strike. Then came the three-month standstill of the strike, during which all networks except NBC let go of a quarter to a third of their development slates. That was followed by more frenzy after the end of the 100-day work stoppage, with studios racing to get pilots ready in time for the upfronts.