With writers headed into the seventh week of their strike with little to show for it, some late night programs are planning a return to the air.
“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” are set to return on the air Jan. 2 without writers or Hollywood guests who will cross picket lines. Both shows are owned by NBC.
“Jimmy Kimmel Live,” on ABC, is also set to return. “Although it makes me sick to do so without my writers, there are more than 100 people whose financial well-being depends on our show,” Kimmel said in a statement. “It is time to go back to work. I support my colleagues and friends in the WGA completely and hope this ends both fairly and soon.”
“The Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” are expected to do the same, except with writers.
Worldwide Pants, David Letterman’s production company, is still trying to cut a side deal with the Writers Guild to have its two CBS late night shows return to the air with their staffs of guild members. That would also enable them to book guests without the picket line being a factor.
“We are willing to agree to the writers’ demands that are within our control, so we have no reason to believe that an interim agreement can’t be achieved with the WGA,” said Burnett, producer of Letterman’s show. “As a result, our only focus is on returning Jan. 2 with writers.”
Still in limbo are Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report,” both of which are owned by Viacom, as is the cable channel.