How the SAG-AFTRA Strike Affects Unscripted Series Like 'The Voice,' 'Dancing With the Stars' and More

The ongoing actors' strike has halted nearly all scripted movies and TV shows, but one area that can continue on: reality TV.

As the SAG-AFTRA strike marches on, networks are firming up their plans amid a dramatic downtick in active Hollywood productions with actors on the picket line. While the actors' strike has halted movies and scripted TV shows for the foreseeable future, it doesn't mean everything will be affected. Reality television, for the most part, will largely be unaffected, which will take center stage as the actors (and writers) continue to fight for better compensation, residuals and protective measures against the use of artificial intelligence.

In response to the actors' strike, CBS on Monday shored up its fall schedule, relying heavily on supersized episodes of Survivor and The Amazing Race to take it through the start of fall. It also devoted the majority of its fall lineup, usually packed with premieres of scripted programming like the NCIS and FBI franchises, by re-airing other shows such as Paramount Network's Yellowstone with Kevin Costner (whose uncertain future on the Taylor Sheridan drama remains headline news), Paramount+'s SEAL Team and the U.K. series, Ghosts, which inspired the CBS comedy of the same name.

Like other networks that have leaned on reality TV for a strike-proof schedule amid a dual actors' and writers' strike, CBS is also betting on game shows for the time being, adding more episodes of The Price Is Right and Let's Make a Deal in primetime.

Other popular competition shows like The Voice, Dancing With the Stars, The Masked Singer and Bachelor Nation offshoots will all continue as planned. In fact, exes Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards' teenage daughters, Sami and Lola, were recently spotted filming in Los Angeles for a new reality show, according to Daily Mail.

As Marc Malkin, Variety's senior culture & events editor, explained, reality and unscripted shows aren't affected by the contract SAG-AFTRA is currently fighting the studios and streamers on.

"When it comes to reality shows and unscripted television, even if an actor is a SAG-AFTRA member, they can still participate because reality shows and unscripted are under a separate SAG-AFTRA contract," he told ET on Monday. "They are not under the contract that people are striking about right now."

In a nutshell, the majority of reality shows and game shows are under a separate SAG-AFTRA contract, which covers network television broadcasting (also known as Network Code), according to Deadline. This particular contract is set up between SAG-AFTRA and the four major broadcast networks, and the rule also can be applied to daytime soap operas and morning talk shows.

NBC in May scheduled the 24th cycle of The Voice, with coaches John Legend, Gwen Stefani, Niall Horan and Reba McEntire, in its usual Monday and Tuesday slot.

Similarly, ABC is banking on Dancing With the Stars, which returns to broadcast after a season on Disney+, to keep viewers tuned in, while expanding its reality footprint with the Bachelor spinoff, The Golden Bachelor, featuring a 71-year-old grandfather looking for loveBachelor in Paradise; Shark Tank; and game shows like Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, Press Your Luck and The $100,000 Pyramid on its fall schedule.

Fox, too, has gone predominantly unscripted for the fall, going all-in on new seasons of The Masked Singer, which will launch its 10th cycle; Name That Tune, I Can See Your Voice, Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, Special Forces: World's Toughest Test, Hell's Kitchen and Lego Masters, as well as the David Spade-hosted new game show Snake Oil. It's also in a unique position by offering new seasons of its animated shows, which include The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers, Family Guy and Krapopolis. (Animated shows operate on a different production schedule than scripted programming, meaning Fox likely has entire seasons ready to air for its Animation Domination slate.)

Shortly after midnight on Friday, SAG-AFTRA, which represents more than 160,000 film and television actors, officially went on strike after they were unable to reach an agreement with major Hollywood studios and streamers by the July 12 deadline. As a result, nearly all productions were forced to shut down, which has had an immediate impact on the industry with canceled premieres and publicity tours, delayed projects and abandoned Hollywood sets.