Much is read and talked about the Writers Strike. As of
December 14, 2007, all scripted Hollywood shows, except October Road, shut down by the week of December 19, 2007, due to the Writers' strike. I think there is a lot of mess going around with the strike.
David Letterman has been negotiating an "interim agreement" that would allow him and his writers to return to the air during the strike without involving CBS. It is uncertain as to whether or not WGA will grant Letterman's independent production company, Worldwide Pants, its request. Executive producer of Late Show with David Letterman, Rob Burnett, who is also the President and CEO of Worldwide Pants, stated:
“ Worldwide Pants has always been a writer-friendly company. Dave has been a member of the WGA for more than 30 years, and I have been a member for more than 20. Because we are an independent production company, we are able to pursue an interim agreement with the Guild without involving CBS in that pursuit. Therefore, since the beginning of the strike, we have expressed our willingness to sign an interim agreement with the Guild consistent with its positions in this dispute. We're happy that the Guild has now adopted an approach that might make this possible. It is our strong desire to be back on the air with our writers and we hope that will happen as soon as possible.”
Following this, CBS released a statement stating that while they respected Worldwide Pants' attempt to secure the interim agreement with the WGA, the network would remain unified with the AMPTP. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, which is also owned by Worldwide Pants, may also return with writers. There is no confirmed date for Letterman to return to air, but Burnett has declared their "only focus is on returning January 2nd with writers."
Jay Leno and Conan O'Bien, who are both WGA members, announced nearly two months into the strike that they would be returning to air on January 2 without their writers. Although both have pledged their support for the WGA, Leno and O'Brien have stated that with negotiations down and none further scheduled, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O'Brien would return to air, citing the sake of their non-writing staff as the main reason — as NBC informed the non-writing staff of the late-night shows that they would face layoffs at the end of the week if their respective shows did not return. NBC admitted that the network's decision to bring back Leno and O'Brien back on air was "similar to 1988, when Johnny Carson brought back The Tonight Show two months into the writers' strike." WGA reminded hosts of any comedy/variety shows that the guild expected the hosts to adhere to the Strike Rules if they chose to go back on air without the writers. The Strike Rules prohibit "all writing by any Guild member that would be performed on-air by that member (including monologues, characters, and featured appearances) if any portion of that written material is customarily written by striking writers."
The guild stated that it had no plans to single out Leno and O'Brien with similar protests that were aimed at Carson Daly, who was accused of setting up a joke hotline as a strike-breaking effort, when he returned to air weeks ago. Unlike other late-night hosts — Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, and Jimmy Kimmel — Daly is not a member of the WGA. Expressing sympathy for the hosts, the WGA accused NBC of "forcing Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien back on the air without writers."