US writers’ union the WGA is adamant that the trickle of shows returning to network TV will not undermine its industrial action and said they will not be as good as when they had full writing teams.
In a call with Wall Street analysts yesterday, WGA negotiators said the lack of writers will impact the quality of the shows. "These are just not going to be the same shows," a WGA spokesman said. "We saw what happened with Johnny Carson in 1988 and that the show is just not as good, not as funny without the writers. The studios want the shows back on air but this won’t help them."
Jimmy Kimmel is the latest US to return to work. Jackhole Industries’ Jimmy Kimmel Live will return to ABC January 2. Kimmel said: "Though it makes me sick to do so without my writers, there are more than a hundred people whose financial well-being depends on our show. It is time to go back to work."
The news came a day after Jay Leno said Big Dog Productions’ The Tonight Show with Jay Leno will return to NBC, also on January 2. Leno said: "Now that the talks have broken down and there are no further negotiations scheduled I feel it’s my responsibility to get my 100 non-writing staff, which were laid off, back to work. We fully support our writers and I think they understand my decision."
Late Night with Conan O’Brien will also return to NBC in January.