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NBC late night hosts Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers will help cover their staff’s pay during the Writers Guild of America strike.
Staffers for Fallon’s Tonight Show and Meyers’ Late Night learned in meetings Wednesday morning that NBC will cover two weeks of pay for workers on the two shows. Fallon and Meyers will personally pay their teams for a third week; health insurance for employees of both programs is guaranteed through September, per a source close to the two shows. NBC didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Along with other late night shows, The Tonight Show and Late Night were among the first productions to shut down after the WGA began picketing on Tuesday.
According to tweets from Tonight Show staffer Sarah Kobos, the three weeks of pay weren’t initially guaranteed: “At a meeting Jimmy wasn’t even at, we are told NBC decided to stop paying us after this week and end our health insurance after this month if the strike is ongoing,” Kobos wrote Tuesday. “They won’t even tell us if we will technically be furloughed. Just active employees who aren’t paid.”
Kobos then shared news about the extended salary and healthcare coverage guarantees Wednesday morning.
Late night hosts also dipped into their own pockets to cover staff paychecks during the last WGA strike in 2007-08 — and eventually several of them went back on the air to ensure that crews and staff would continue to be paid and insured, albeit without writers. That led to moments like then-Late Night host Conan O’Brien spinning his wedding ring on his desk, as well as some criticism of Jay Leno and Jon Stewart for writing monologue jokes after they were back on the air at The Tonight Show and The Daily Show. Those criticisms faded after the strike ended. Leno, as he did in 2007, delivered donuts to picketing writers on Tuesday.
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