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Late-Night Hosts Could Return in January

Late-night hosts have been off the air for almost six weeks now, since the Hollywood writers' strike began and the hosts refused to cross their writers' picket lines. But now there's a new report that the hosts could return in early January. Sources told Variety that since late-night ratings are plunging and an end to the strike seems so far off, the hosts are thinking it's time to come back on the air.

Nobody wants to be the first host back — well, nobody except Carson Daly, who resumed taping Last Call earlier this month and already had his show disrupted by picketers once. (Daly said he came back to save the jobs of his crew.) So, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, and Craig Ferguson might all return together so nobody has to take the hit of being first. Jimmy Kimmel's plans aren't really known, and Variety speculates that Leno and O'Brien could come back together even if Letterman and Ferguson opt out.

Something similar happened during the last strike, in 1988: Both Letterman and Johnny Carson initially went off the air, but both returned before the strike was over — Carson after 10 weeks, Letterman after four months.

What do you think? Would you be upset with the late-night hosts if they returned to work? Or do you think it's fine for them to come back after two months off the air?


Join The Conversation
Padraigin Padraigin 9 years
You create work, art, and would be royally pissed if you were with a label that wanted to use your work but not pay you for money they made in alternate revenue sources. It happens every day. Of course, when I sell a song, I try to get a decent contract for the sale of the song and if the person buying my song doesn't like my terms, sometimes I have to go by someone else's terms. Bottom line, when you sell a song or a script, it's no longer yours. You made your money off the bottom. My cousin CAN'T go join the picket line. He has to find another job to pay his mortgage, insurance, and daughter's tuition. And they are not guaranteed their jobs back when the strike is over. With a layoff, there is no guarantee that you will be back in your original job.
Sasha520 Sasha520 9 years
I don't think the writer's strike and Civil Rights movement were equal in scale at all. I do think they are both examples of people having to go to drastic lengths to improve their situation. Most people opposing the strike are looking at it in such a basic cause and effect manner: The writer's chose to strike, so people were put out of work." Why don't they say: "The producers/studios weren't fair about residuals and Internet streaming and have made so many promises at past contract dealings regarding the future that they haven't made good on, then the writer's decided to strike, and THEN people lost jobs." It's easy to look at the last thing that happened- the strike- and blame the entire fallout on the writers, but that's a very simplistic way to describe the history that led up to this. The musician who talked about being up for Lettermen should understand this more than anything else. You create work, art, and would be royally pissed if you were with a label that wanted to use your work but not pay you for money they made in alternate revenue sources. You're not the only one with deals in the pipeline or jobs that have been lost. The writer's haven't had a strike for 10 years and have decided against strikes in the past because the studios made promises. They know that this is horrible (especially during this time of year) but can't keep getting shafted. After awhile you just have to stand up for yourself and say enough.
megnmac megnmac 9 years
If they come back, they're cutting the negotiating power of the writers... having no late night, and for me that is the Daily Show/ Colbert Report more than Conan or Leno or Letterman or Kimmel, is more painful somehow than any of the fading out tv shows. I like a few shows, and watch/DVR religiously. But I watch them whenever since I DVR. The latenight programming is something that gets into your routine, you start to rely on somehow for nightly fresh content, and its shelf life is short (no one comes in to work laughing about last week's joke about last week's news)... I really think there is no easy way around this, and I think starting the shows back up is breaking down and hurting the strike. There'd be no point to striking if it didn't shut stuff down and somehow inconvenience the studios!
lilegwene lilegwene 9 years
Renee, you have the possibility of moving up in your job and getting a pay raise in the future. The writers do not. They don't have job benefits either. Do you really want to condemn someone to that kind of life? Yes, it is sad that other people are affected. But, according to the law, they are going to get their jobs back once production resumes. They should go out and join the picketers.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
If they come back I won't hate them for it. I feel for the writers and I feel for everyone involved in the strike but people need jobs. Yes it might not be the writers fault that so many people are out of jobs but people need work and need money. Sure the top dogs don't need the money, but the "little people" do. The damage this strike has on LA in general right now is AMAZING. It's affecting SO many people. People who don't even make as much as the writers. There's the caterering people, the camera and lights people, the musicians. It's Hurting so many. I want the writers to get what they deserve, but I think that to an extent everyone is being greedy. THey aren't starving artists, they all make enough to live on. Yes doing work that you don't get paid or recognition for Sucks, but welcome to the real world. I have an office job and that happens on a daily basis. I work my ass off and my boss gets the slap on the back. I deal with it.
lilegwene lilegwene 9 years
I agree that relating the writers' strike to the Civil Rights movement is over-the-top. However, saying your cousin's job loss and your missed opportunity are their fault is scapegoating the writers. It is horrible that your cousin lost his job, but he should blame the root of the problem. Not the writers. When this whole thing ends, he should (legally) get his job back. As a musician, you probably know what it feels like to get paid nothing for a song or performance where you gave your all. Think of writing a song, selling it for a little money and it goes huge with an artist. But, you don't see any more of the earnings. The new measures will help guarantee that the writers who pen really popular shows/movies will get credit for it.
Padraigin Padraigin 9 years
and tell that to ME, while you're at it. I was in line to possibly do some backup with Letterman's band this month and it's not happening because of the writers' strike. I was not "inconvenienced", I was denied a career opportunity of a lifetime. To equate the writers' strike with the Civil Rights movember is ludicrous.
Padraigin Padraigin 9 years
Saying writers have put people out of work is like saying that the Civil Rights movement shouldn't have happened because it inconvenienced people. Tell that to my cameraman cousin who is out of a job at Christmas time because of the writers' strike. He was not "inconvenienced". He was laid off with his daughter's college tuition due.
Sasha520 Sasha520 9 years
I wasn't that upset about Carson...I mean if he gets fired his career is over. I understand that panic. I don't get the late night guys doing it. They're in SAG and understand what is going on. The studio would never actually fire them, can you imagine? You can tell that someone has never protested unfair treatment or taken the brunt of it when all they care about is "their shows coming back on." C'mon! Who cares? It's TV? No to be a dork but I'm far more interested in the business/social impact part of this saga. I admire all (good) writers and actors like I do all artists. I don't know why people, especially big business studios, have such little respect for people who use their craft to generate billions of dollars for them. Maybe people think all writers earn a million dollars a script. Haha! Yeah...the top 1%. Most people in the Guilt have full time jobs and write on the side. I support them and hope they get at least most of what they're asking for. It's bold, but not unreasonable.
Kelly-O Kelly-O 9 years
I don't think the demands of the writers are heinous, and I hope they come to an agreement soon. However, if the shows aren't going, the other non-writing staff members are clearly also out of work. This is such a complicated issue and until both sides can resolve the strike, there will be someone not getting paid and not working. I can understand why some shows may choose to go on, and if they want to ensure their non-writing staff continues to work (particularly during the holidays) I could not blame them. I guess I'm on the fence in this one. I can see both sides, I just don't know that either one is totally right or totally wrong.
tralalala tralalala 9 years
If they go back, I'm off late night tv. No joke. It was one thing for Carson Daly to go back. I was pissed, but at least he's not a member of the union. Letterman, Leno, and Conan are all member of the WGA, and if they go back before the WGA and AMPTP come to an agreement, I'll lose all respect for them.
Sasha520 Sasha520 9 years
While it will be nice to see new late night content, I don't agree with Lucky KaraBear at all. Saying writers have put people out of work is like saying that the Civil Rights movement shouldn't have happened because it inconvenienced people. Writers have been shafted by Hollywood for a VERY long time. Actors are given pretty much every consideration, but the people who develop the material are seen as dispensable. Studios and producers are infamous for their treatment of their writing staff. I live in LA and know many writers- these aren't millionaires like the actors they produce material for. Some of them will only sell one 30 minute sitcom a year. I bet the owners of this website make more than the average Hollywood writer. Their demands are not "heinous" by any stretch of the imagination. ABC or CBS would sue you in a second if you taped a show and put it on YouTube yet they're saying that Internet streaming is fair game. And the DVD revenue...don't even get me started. I know a few producers as well and they're pretty much keeping quiet on the subject because they don't want to get in trouble with their guild/union (yes they have one too). The late night guys are going back because they don't want to lose their jobs. Period. They don't need the money. The studios are telling them they're gone if they don't come back. Why do you think Carson came back first? He has no backup plan, he needs the money. I'm all for fighting for what you deserve and getting a fair piece of the pie. If your boss refused to pay you what you knew you deserved you'd fight as well. I feel bad for caterers, grips, and all of the other people that are suffering alongside the writers, but if the studio wanted it to end it could have been over and they wouldn't have even lost a significant amount of revenue. But, much like the insurance companies of today, dollars and cents are most important that people's well being or livelihood.
Neural Neural 9 years
Please come back!!!!
lucky_karabear lucky_karabear 9 years
I for one would SO not be upset! these writers (although I understand why they're on strike) are putting so many people out of work...and their new demands are heinous. I think it's fair that the talk show hosts may come back since it'll spare at least some people from totally losing their jobs. and we'll get at least some fresh tv which would be a welcome relief!
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