Leno, Letterman, and the rest of the late-night shows return to the air tonight. Letterman’s The Late Show and Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show are the only shows that will have WGA writing staffs. The others will… honestly, I have no idea what material they will use. The hosts are WGA members, so they cannot write their own monologues. I guess they’ll be improvising, and won’t that be fun?
David Letterman’s company Worldwide Pants negotiated a deal with the WGA and agreed to all the terms the WGA planned to offer the AMPTP the last time they walked out of negotiations. Since late-night doesn’t do much re-run business I’m not sure how big a deal this is financially, but the writers will receive a portion of online revenue and that — as well as the example to the rest of the companies — is huge. CBS is allegedly furious, but since Letterman owns his show they have to allow it (or let some other network have the shows, I guess). Hopefully NBC and the other networks will see falling ratings and will match the competition by making deals for Leno and the rest of the shows. (I’m not being vague on purpose, but I haven’t watched late-night television in a really, really long time and I don’t think I’ve ever seen any shows but Leno and Letterman.)
I hope the rest of the WGA writers get to go back to work soon. In the meantime, I am really happy for Letterman’s guys.