By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
The striking Writers Guild of America issued this statement of criticism: “We’re disappointed at Carson Daly’s decision to return to work. Mr. Daly is not a writer and not a member of the WGA, unlike other late-night hosts Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, and Jimmy Kimmel, who have all resisted network pressure and honored our writers’ picket lines. We hope he’ll change his mind and follow the lead of the other late-night hosts.”
The late-night shows have not been in production during the entire November sweeps. Since the repeats don’t generate the same ratings as original shows, the networks have to give sponsors free spots or “give backs” at a cost of millions. Ergo all the pressure from CBS and NBC and ABC on its late-night hosts. So the fact that Dave, Jay, Conan, Craig and Jimmy — all members of the WGA, which Carson is not — have stayed out much longer than anyone thought would happen (especially in light of 1988) is a major concern to the networks and a major boon to the WGA.
But back to Daly. Today he’s also accused of setting up a “joke hot line” as a strikebreaking effort — prompting the WGA to scold, “We’re especially appalled at Mr. Daly’s call for non-Guild writers to provide him with jokes.” The Smoking Gun published an e-mail purportedly from Daly detailing how he asked a small group of contacts to call in “suggested jokes” to a telephone hot line, noting that he would “play some, most, or all of your jokes on the air.” The bit, Daly stressed, was not meant to “make fun” of his striking writers. He added that his goal was to just “play a fun collage of random people trying to ‘help me out.’ ” The bit’s setup, Daly wrote in his Sunday-night e-mail, was that “the devastating writers strike” led to “A TON of my friends and family . . . calling me, leaving messages, offering their help with jokes because they know that I don’t have any writers working and hosting a late night show without them will be nearly impossible for me.”
It’s all online, barf bag not included.
For the world’s best up-to-the-minute strike coverage, go to Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily at www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com.
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