The networks are starting to show some of the tricks by which they hope to survive the writers' strike if it stretches out to the horizon. One was completely predictable: reality shows, which don't require writers. CBS on Tuesday ordered two more rounds of Survivor for next season.
More surprising was the news that CBS is turning to Canada to break the strike. The network announced it's bought 13 episodes of a new cop show tentatively titled Flashpoint. It's being written and produced in Canada and will be shown simultaneously on CTV, Canada's biggest private English-language network. Though Canadian writers are unionized, their contract is still in force and they aren't part of the Hollywood strike that's about to enter its fourth month.
Even before the strike, the broadcast networks were actively seeking shows overseas. (NBC's programming boss, Ben Silverman, has practically made a career out of adapting foreign TV shows to the U.S. market.) The pace of their search is likely to accelerate, and Canada -- as close a thing as there is to a cultural clone of the United States -- is likely to increasingly be the hunting ground.