Late night hosts may return in January
Looks like the late-night talk shows may be coming back sooner rather than later, and this regardless of what happens with the strike. Variety admits that nothing official has been said and no one will comment one way or another, but insiders are saying the time may be nearing. Carson returned after two months of the '88 writers strike. With ratings taking a nosedive, January 7 has been pegged as a possible return date for the NBC hosts (Leno and O'Brien), with the others starting the same time or soon thereafter.
They initially shut down production in deference to their writers and stayed dark to help the writers maintain some leverage in negotiations, even going so far as to pay non-writing staffers out of their own pockets. But, when reruns of Spike TVs MANswers are beating your reruns, and your ratings are half what they were (as is the case with the NBC pair), it's time to rethink everything.
It's a tough spot to be in as no host wants to be the first to go back on the air, but their writers have said they'd understand if they did. The two month work stoppage has hurt everyone, but it was a show of solidarity and support that will be remembered and appreciated. Of course, they still could decide to keep the lights out and the reruns on. I know one group that wouldn't mind at all.
Bashir: "Good evening, I'm Martin Bashir."
McFadden: "And I'm Cynthia McFadden. Tonight's top story--"
Moran: "Is that Nightline is the number one show in late-night! Woo-hoo!"
McFadden: "Uh ... no, actually--"
Moran [streaks in front of McFadden with his shirt off, stops in front of her and faces the camera, holding a plastic cup of beer]: "We're number one, baby! Number one!" [runs off stage right]
Bashir: "Somebody tapped the keg a bit early, if you know what I'm sayin'."
McFadden: "We have a newscast still--"
Bashir: "What, some crap happened, some people died, blah blah blah. It's the same as every other day. We haven't been on top since '95! I say celebrate. [pulls out a bong] Smoke 'em if you got 'em, am I right, Cin, am I right?"
McFadden [trying to do a newscast still]: "Well, the President today--"
Moran [running by again, this time with no pants on either]: "Is an idiot, Cindy! And he'll be an idiot tomorrow, too!" [trips and falls]
McFadden [standing]: "Oh my god, Terry! Are you alright!"
Moran: "I think I need mouth-to-mouth."
McFadden: "Well, I hardl--"
Moran: "Not you, sweetcakes." [sing-songy] "Oh Martin! ... The way you made Michael Jackson cry ... You're a genius, man! A genius!" [starts sobbing]
Bashir: [coming down toward Moran] "Come on, put your pants on, Terry."
Moran: "Did they see my Koppel boxers, did they show up." [still lying there, pointing to his boxers and the camera.] "That's a tribute to you, big guy! We did it all for you!"
McFadden [sitting at desk, head in hands]: "Can we just cut early, then?" [looks stage left] "No? This is it? Live television, ladies and gentlemen!" [eyes Bashir's bong, just to her right] "Well, smoke 'em if you got 'em."