Letterman Settles With WGA
Next Wednesday, The Late Show With David Letterman will become the first television show back on the air with its full writing staff. Letterman’s Worldwide Pants company, producers of both The Late Show and The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, successfully negotiated a new contract with the Writers Guild of America.
Whereas other talk shows will be returning to the air – Jay Leno the same day, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert the following Monday – Letterman and Ferguson will be allowed to use opening monologues and the continuing bits such as The Top 10 list that have constituted a large part of their appeal. Leno and the rest will not be able to use recurring segments and will have to ad-lib their shows until they, too, reach a settlement.
Letterman followed a strategy employed by his mentor (and, later, his writer) Johnny Carson back during the 1988 strike. The WGA is likely to use deal-points agreed to as a template for further negotiations.
To prove the studios still don’t understand a damn thing, they released a statement today that striking writers have "lost" the battle because they now lost more in salary and benefits than they hoped to gain from negotiations. In my opinion, with such a limited and asinine view of the situation the WGA strike will likely drag on for a while.