Late night hosts Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien are set to resume their talk shows without writers. An NBC executive says “there are hundreds of people who will be able to return to work as a result of Jay’s and Conan’s decision,” but one imagines dwindling ratings have something to do with their plans. David Letterman, meanwhile, may work out a deal with the Writers Guild that would allow his show to come back with writers.
The strike left the nation bereft of fresh late-night laughs for two months as the presidential race heated up. Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central has also been shut down during the strike.
“Both Jay and Conan have supported their writers during the first two months of this WGA (Writers Guild of America) strike and will continue to support them,” said Rick Ludwin, executive vice president, late night and primetime series for NBC. “However, there are hundreds of people who will be able to return to work as a result of Jay’s and Conan’s decision.”
It’s not immediately clear how each show will change in coming back without writers. The late-night programs have become less like talk shows and more like comedy shows in recent years, requiring more prepared material.