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.