You couldn't script this showdown.
Hollywood writers are facing off against networks and studios in a test of wills that could play havoc with the TV season and disrupt the flow of movies to local theaters.
Tensions are high as the TV and film writers union contract nears its end on Oct. 31. The last writers strike, in 1988, lasted six months.
Audiences would see the effects of a lengthy strike on television first because of tighter production timetables. Even then, they probably wouldn't notice the absence of prime-time favorites before early 2008.