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FX's 'The Shield': It's Almost a Wrap, Folks

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Fans of network TV scripted programming will have plenty to whine about should a strike occur come Nov. 1, but at least one critically-acclaimed series will survive the possible walkout by the industry’s writers. Shawn Ryan — the executive producer of The Shield — is expected to deliver the series finale script (yep, you read that right) of the FX drama by Halloween, which means production on season 7’s 13th episode can be completed a week later. It has to be a pretty tense time for Ryan; not only does the scribe split his loyalities between Shield and The Unit (a drama he executive produces for CBS), but he’s also a member of the Writers Guild committee that is currently negotiating a new deal with the nets and studios. Though FX will soon have The Shield’s final season in the can, it’s unclear when the Michael Chiklis (pictured) drama will return to the lineup. Right now, a spokesman can only hint at a spring or summer berth. The net already has several other dramas waiting in the wings, including season 5 of Nip/Tuck (beginning Oct. 30), as well as the second seasons of Dirt and The Riches (no debut dates set).