Late-night during strike: No laughing matter


Strike Zone: Latest on WGA talks

Late-night comedy shows such as NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and "Saturday Night Live" as well as Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" will go dark starting Monday as a result of the writers strike.

Each of those writing-intensive programs, along with NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," are immediately going into repeats. It wasn't clear Friday afternoon what the plans are for other late-night shows including CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" or "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson." It's understood that contingency plans are in place for ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," but the specifics are unknown.

Meanwhile, "The View," ABC's late-morning chatfest, will continue with its regular schedule.

" 'The View' will continue, without interruption," a spokesman said.

"SNL" with guest host Brian Williams is scheduled to go on as normal Saturday night but will go into repeats starting next weekend.

"Late-night is what gets hit the hardest," said Nancy Huck, a senior buyer at Starcom Media Vest's Spark Communications. "It becomes rerun city." She and other buyers didn't think that it would drastically hurt the late-night programs in the short run as some of them might have gone into repeats as the holidays neared. But it could be a problem down the line.

Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" each have about a dozen writers. There also are 40-60 other below-the-line employees, most of who more than likely will be idled.

Each of the two shows had been scheduled to go into production for the next two weeks before going on a one-week break before Thanksgiving and then resume production until the holiday break starting Dec. 24.

Comedy Central is discussing options between 11 p.m. and midnight -- and their several repeats per day -- in the event of a prolonged strike.

"We will evaluate what we do in those time slots," Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said in a conference call with analysts Friday. "... We will have reruns for a little while, and then we will see what we do with the format."

Elsewhere, the daytime production "Live With Regis and Kelly" is done live in New York but has no writers, so it's not affected.

It wasn't clear Friday what the plans are for "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," another daytime talker.

Also in daytime, the broadcast networks' soaps are set with enough scripts to keep fresh episodes on the air for the next few months. NBC's "Days of Our Lives" and the CBS dramas "The Young and the Restless," "The Bold and the Beautiful" and "As the World Turns" have enough scripts to take them through at least January, while CBS' "Guiding Light" could be OK for another month beyond that.

ABC's daytime dramas -- "One Life to Live," "General Hospital" and "All My Children" -- also are set through the beginning of the year.

"ABC's daytime dramas are written well into the new year, and we will continue to produce original programming with no repeats and without interruption," an ABC Daytime spokesperson said.

Paul J. Gough reported from New York; Kimberly Nordyke reported from Los Angeles.