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Late-night shows among first impacted by writers' strike

Several late-night TV hosts have announced what they plan to do now that Writers Guild of America workers have gone on strike.
Late-night shows among first impacted by writers' strike
Posted at 5:44 AM, May 02, 2023

With television writers starting their strike Tuesday morning, some late-night TV shows might not be producing any new episodes anytime soon. 

Scripted TV shows that fill the prime-time lineup are generally taped months in advance, but late-night shows are generally taped the same day, which is why they often include topical events. However, because of the nature of late-night shows, they will be among the first impacted by the Writers Guild of America strike. 

Seth Meyers, who hosts “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” addressed the strike on Monday’s episode. He confirmed a writers’ strike would interrupt the production of his show. 

“This is a show that is built on strong writing,” Meyers told viewers. “Strong writing is essential on this show. It is essential on any show where the host, myself, is a C+ performer. You have to have the jokes.” 

Meyers gave his full-throated backing of writers in what could be his final new episode for some time. 

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“They are entitled to make a living,” Meyers said. “I think it’s a very reasonable demand that is being set out by the Guild and I support those demands. But I also believe everybody on both sides knows the future of this business is dependent on storytellers.”

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Daily Show” also had new episodes planned this week. 

Fallon said in an interview Monday with Variety the show would “go dark” in the event of a strike, adding he “couldn’t do the show without them.”

“I wouldn’t have a show without my writers; I support them all the way,” Fallon told Variety. “They have gotta have a fair contract, and they have a lot to iron out.” 

What happened during the 2007-2008 strike

When writers went on strike for three months starting in November 2007, most late-night shows spent the first two months airing reruns. 

Two months into the strike, many late-night shows returned, albeit with a different look. Conan O’Brien, then host of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” sported a beard in solidarity with the writers. "The Daily Show" rebranded itself "A Daily Show" during that period.

Even though shows returned in January 2008, it was not until a month later that the strike was resolved. 

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