Leno & Conan Return to Late Night in January

It was announced today that Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien will return to work on January 2, 2007.

In statements released this afternoon, Conan defended his decision by saying, “Unfortunately, now with the New Year upon us, I am left with a difficult decision. Either go back to work and keep my staff employed or stay dark and allow 80 people, many of whom have worked for me for fourteen years, to lose their jobs.”

In an eerily similar statement, 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.”

The TV Addict’s take: While I appreciate the difficult situation both Leno and Conan find themselves in. I’m incredibly disappointed that they decided to go back to work.

Late Night is not only an enormous profit center for ABC, NBC and CBS, it’s an integral tool for the studios to use when marketing their major motion pictures. Leno, Letterman, Conan, Ferguson and Kimmel’s solidarity with the WGA was sending a very powerful and important message to the AMPTP.

Their return to work will be seen as nothing short of a serious blow to the striking writers. And while I respect that both Leno and Conan just gave around two hundred employees one helluva early holiday gift. Lest we forget the tens of thousands of workers still seriously affected by this strike.

Agree, Disagree, Post away.

  • Dude

    The fact of the matter is that the producers, writers, and actors/hosts all make WAY more money than the below the line people.

    While I agree that this is a “blow,” I still feel the strike is not acceptable in that the only people being hurt are the people that can least afford it.

    Please don’t interpret this as anti-writer, because proportionately, they certainly deserve more than they are getting.

  • Barbara

    I completely 100% agree with Dude. It’s easy for the writers to diss them because they have money. But there are people, many of them with families probably, that cannot just “take” a few months to a year off. Imagine being without a salary for let’s say 6 months. Even people with decent income would soon run out of money. And then what? Do you say to your kid “sorry but I can’t buy this because people who clearly still have money (because if they didn’t they would probably stop the strike) decided that they want even more money” ?

    Don’t get me wrong, I support the writers, I do. And I think it’s the producers’ fault because they clearly have no moral conscience at all. But at one point you have to think of hundreds of people that didn’t do anything wrong but are the most affected by this.

  • Dude and Barbara,

    Completely valid points. But isn’t there an argument to be made that Late Night returning takes pressure of the networks, thus making the strike last longer, hurting more and more below-the-line workers?

  • Hil

    What kind of format will they have when they come back? Without writers they will have to change up their format a lot, perhaps even making the lack of writers a more obvious problem. I do respect them for trying to take care of their workers. It is one thing to say you support the writers when you are just a tv couch potato, but when you actually have the ability to give 100 people jobs this time of year you might think differently about the politics here and grant them work.

    I don’t really think that having Leno on or not will really solve the network’s big problem with programming. It sure isn’t keeping me up at night. I will be missing my tv dramas, and somehow I doubt they can keep going without those very long. They can’t make more Life or Pushing Daisies or LOST without writers.

  • Barbara

    To answer your question: No I don’t.

    It’s two shows in the late night time, that won’t even be the same as they were pre-strike (Ok I have to add that if they do a monologue, then I think they’re cheating). I don’t think they’ll be doing any big harm being on air. And besides, won’t Conan and Leno without the monologue (and sketches in Conan’s case) be like the late night version of those morning shows that never went off air?

    Also, you have been, on this very site, writing about how this and this DVD would make the perfect gift. Wouldn’t you say that hurts the strikers too? I bet the TV networks make a LOT more money from DVD sales (especially around Christmas time) than they do with advertisement during Conan and Leno.

    It all comes down to money. And as long as people won’t stop buying DVDs, shows from itunes and watching streams on the networks’ websites (the ads make the money here) the studios will still be happily saying that they are not in financial trouble which means they won’t care if the strike goes on.

  • Stephanie

    I’m happy. I’ve missed my nightly dose of new Leno and Conan.

  • crystal

    I don’t agree. I don’t feel that giving 200 people back their jobs will be a huge blow. I know for a lot of people who don’t stay up late enough to see Leno and Conan the situation will still be in the same place with or without the shows. I am more concerned for things like Lost, Life, and all those other shows that start with the letter L.

    Seriously though, could you just make a choice to go off the air and put hundreds of your coworkers/friends out of work. I think that they both did what most honest and loyal people would do in their situation. I know what it is like to be out of work, and it sucks. I can’t imagine how many people will be loosing their jobs this holiday season and receiving no residuals for their hard work. I am not anti writers or strikers, I just feel for the what I imagine to be thousands of middle class people that will be out of work.

    And of course my empty TV screen since there is no way in hell I will be watching any reality TV next year. Sorry, I am not a fan.