July 18, 1988 12:00 PM

David Letterman returned to TV, and I fell asleep on the couch. That really wasn’t Dave’s fault. I was out of training, unaccustomed to staying up until Late Night because of the bloody writers’ strike. Every side in the strike has been hanging tough. The producers made their “final” offer. The writers rejected it. The networks made threats—NBC vowing to give us strike-proof programming this fall, such as a variety show (spare us), more alleged reality series along the lines of Unsolved Mysteries (no, Brandon, anything but that!), remakes of old shows with new casts and remakes of British and Canadian series with American actors. Well, fellow entertainment fans, it is time for us to hang tough too. It is time for us to make threats about reading books or taking up hobbies instead of watching TV and going to the movies. Both sides in this dispute do have difficult differences to settle. The economics of all show business is changing radically because of the growth of VCRs, cable and foreign TV. But those differences can and must be settled with sanity, civility and speed. The writers, the producers and all the rich bozos of Hollywood should grow up, wise up and sit down with a mediator. For if this war goes on too long, it could ruin entertainment, our proudest American export. Hell, we already import our TVs and VCRs. Let’s not also import what we play on them. So here is our threat to the “money-grubbing scum” (Dave’s words) of showbiz: Get back to work and once you do, make sure not to repeat this sorry mess with the directors and other unions. Behave or we will make you sorry. We will look elsewhere for our fun. Remember: We the people brought back old Coke, Cagney & Lacey and Richard Nixon. So what if we the people aren’t perfect? We can still bring you to your knees, Hollywood.

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