Worldwide Pants to Keep Paying Writers; NBC Reassures Late-Night Staffs
David Letterman has guaranteed that no writers strike grinch will steal Christmas for “Late Show With David Letterman” and “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” staffers.
Meanwhile, the staffs of NBC-owned “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” and “Last Call With Carson Daly” have been reassured they will not be gone before their Thanksgiving leftovers are.
People familiar with the situation said Thursday that NBC Universal had decided none of the non-writing late-night staffers will be laid off for at least two more weeks, a decision that will be reviewed on a week-by-week basis thereafter. That was a relief to the late-night employees, who had been primed for possible strike-related layoffs at the end of this week.
The move came two days after Mr. Letterman’s Worldwide Pants Inc., which owns and produces the late-night shows for CBS, had notified its late-night employees that they will be paid by Worldwide through the end of the year even if the shows do not return to the air by then.
At ABC-owned “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the decision to continue in reruns because of the strike will be made day-to-day, a spokeswoman said.
The “Late Show” writers may be on strike, but they haven’t exactly put down their pens and pencils. Eric Stangel, Justin Stangel, Bill Scheft, Steve Young, Matt Roberts, Tom Ruprecht, Jeremy Weiner, Lee Ellenberg, Joe Grossman and Bob Borden are blogging and joking and otherwise trying to find a silver lining to the Writers Guild of America strike. Check out www.lateshowwritersonstrike.com.
“There is a lot at stake with this strike, and these are serious issues. The ‘Late Show’ writers are on the picket lines every day they are scheduled. We are not making light of this situation. One way to get people to pay attention to the strike and its issues is through humor,” says an explanatory note on the site.
Nielsen Media Research data for the week of Nov. 9 shows that during the first week of strike-induced repeats, “Letterman” beat “Leno” in total viewers (3.96 million vs. 3.87 million, respectively) and adults 18-49 (1.3 rating/6 share vs. 1.2 rating/6 share).
On ABC, “Nightline,” which is unaffected by the strike, averaged 3.8 million viewers and a 1.2 rating/5 share in adults 18-49.
“Kimmel” repeats averaged 1.93 million viewers and a 0.6 rating/3 share in the demo.
3:30 p.m.: Updated paragraphs 1-4