Late-Night T.V. Hit by Strike

There was no new funny last night, with the Writer's Guild of America on strike. Late-night talk shows were the first to go down. Soaop operas could be next. If the strikes lasts, the winner will be reality TV, which does not use union writers.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

Mr. JAY LENO (Host, "Tonight Show with Jay Leno") Am I being funny right now? No, because I don't have anybody writing anything for me. See? They're all standing around.


That was "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno speaking from the picket line yesterday in Los Angeles, showing his support for the nationwide writers' strike that started yesterday. The strike forced Leno and all the other late-night talk show hosts to go into repeats last night.


Leno stressed how important the writers are to his show.

Mr. LENO: If the writers were actually working now, I would be hilarious.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LENO: I would be hilarious right now. But, look, see? They're all closemouthed, so obviously, I have nothing to say. I am an empty shell waiting to be filled in by the material written by these folks.

STEWART: Leno said he didn't know how long the strike would go on or whether his show would eventually try to go on without the writers, but he did say he hoped it would be resolved soon.

Mr. LENO: I mean, I think it can all work out. When it gets personal, that's when it gets ugly, and nobody wants to see that happen. But hopefully, they will come to - I think there are reasonable people on both sides, and hopefully, it will come to some swift resolution.

BURBANK: Fortunately, Ali, for us, we don't need writers to talk good news -talk thing. Oh, here we go. Other celebs show their support for the writers -Julie Louis-Dreyfus formerly of "Seinfeld," of course. She now stars in the new sitcom. She picketed in L.A. And in New York, Tina Fey from "30 Rock" joined the ticket line at, well, 30 Rock.

STEWART: Writers are demanding a bigger cut of online and DVD profits from the TV shows and movies which they write. No negotiations have been scheduled, although the Writer's Guild Negotiating Committee does plan a meeting of its members. The chief negotiator for the producers say they're, quote, "hunkered down" for what could be a long strike.

BURBANK: But there is still some good news — well, maybe good news. One of the highest rated primetime TV shows, "Dancing with the Stars," aired as planned last night with its hosts ad libbing.

STEWART: And the world is still turning this morning.

BURBANK: Go Tom Bergeron.

STEWART: That's today's BPP Big Story.

Now, here's Rachel Martin with the rest of the news.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.