David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Conan O Brien may have to button their lips come Monday – due to the proposed strike of the Writers Guild of America.
If the issues of money that divide the two sides – the writers on one side, producers on the other – do not get resolved by then, all talk shows will have to go into reruns or be taken off the air temporarily (as will any programming that requires newly-written material, such as sitcoms, dramas and made-for-TV movies).
In terms of the nighttime hosts, even though all of them are comedians (and known to be funny off the cuff), they re also all writers of their shows – and therefore must join the strike.
Letterman Calls Producers ‘Weasels’
Among the issues dividing the two sides are that the writers want an increase in the fees they receive when their work is reproduced on DVDs, as well as a better share of revenue derived from content on the Internet, mobile phones and other electronic devices.
The divide led to Letterman calling producers “cowards, cutthroats and weasels” on his CBS Late Show on Thursday.
Leno, however, seemed to have more of a sense of humor about the predicament, quipping on his NBC Tonight Show Friday, “They call it the toughest time for comedy writing since those three weeks back in the 1990s when Bill Clinton stopped dating. Remember that?”