Yes, you heard correctly, Late Show with David Letterman is coming back on the air on January 2nd… with its writers!
Each show is allowed to negotiate with their writers independently of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP), and David Letterman, who has been an ardent supporter of the strike, decided to do so. Mr. Letterman, whose Worldwide Pants production company also owns Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, has been paying the staff of both his shows out of his own pocket during the strike.
The news of the Late Show writers returning has been confirmed by the writer’s Strike Blog, LateShowWritersOnStrike.com. There has been no confirmation on Craig Ferguson’s writers also returning the same night, but it is believed they will be. (check out the writer’s blog anyway for some pretty funny strike humor)
Most of the late night shows will be returning that night, but I know which channel I will be tuned into. We, as fans of television, owe it to Mr. Letterman’s unwaivering support of his writers to tune in and watch at least that first night. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a fan of his, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never even watched the show, David Letterman obviously understands the vital role writers play to any creative process. He is to be applauded for his willingness to step outside of the normal negotiations and make sure his writers got what they deserve.
Of the other shows returning, I just can’t support them without writers. Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Kimmel have both been very supportive of their writers, and I understand why they are returning so their staffs won’t be fired. Jay Leno has been, well, an ass about the whole thing, so I wouldn’t support him anyway. I wish O’Brien and Kimmel well, but without writers, it just doesn’t matter.
So, kudos to David Letterman for being a shining beacon of understanding where he would be without his writing staff.