13 items from 2007
It was May 11, 1988. Two months after the beginning of the writers strike, The Tonight Show returned sans writers. It started off just like any other Tonight Show hosted by Johnny Carson, with "Heeeeeere's Johnny!" But then, in the midst of a louder and longer than usual standing ovation, an audience member shouted, Welcome back, Johnny.
"The public was glad he was back, the staff was glad, everybody was happy to get paychecks again," said Carson's nephew Jeff Sotzing, president of Carson Entertainment, who was an associate producer on Tonight Show in 1988. "Nobody wanted to cross the picket line, but when they finally did, it was a huge relief."
Carson, who owned the The Tonight Show, had been paying his nonwriting staff out of his pocket, something his successors, led by David Letterman, have replicated during the current strike.
Also taking a cue from his idol, Letterman, who owns CBS' Late Show and Late Late Show, has been trying to negotiate an interim deal with the WGA that would allow the two shows to return with writers Jan. 2.
Carson had been pursuing such a contract in May 1988. According to news reports from that time, frustrated by the slow progress in the negotiations, he decided to return May 11 without writers. A couple of weeks later, his scribes followed after the WGA signed off on a deal.
Now, things are not moving fast on a contract between Letterman's Worldwide Pants and the WGA either, prompting a public appeal by the company last week to the guild that helped to start talks.
Additionally, today's WGA also is taking a page from its old playbook. Back in May 1988, while in a stalemate with the major studios, the guild pursued deals with about 80 independent producers. That also has been the WGA's recent tactic launched this month.
There were two guests on Carson's first night back, a copy of which is available at the Paley Center for Media: San Diego Wild Animal Park's curator of birds William Toone, who talked about the birth of the first baby condor in captivity, and actor-comedian Joe Piscopo, there to promote his movie Dead Heat. The Tonight Show band also saluted composer Irving Berlin for his 100th birthday with a medley of his tunes.
Talent booking for the late shows is getting a lot of attention these days, with speculation that many actors won't cross a picket line, making non-Hollywood types like Jack Hanna and medical experts preferred guests.
So far, no main guests for NBC's The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and Late Night With Conan O'Brien and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, which are resuming production without writers Jan. 2, have been firmed up. Donald Trump had been booked to appear on CBS' Late Show With David Letterman on Jan. »
Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report will begin production Jan. 7 without the shows' writing staffs. The network will "continue to hold out hope for a swift resolution to the current stalemate that will enable the shows to be complete again," it said.
But questions over the format of both shows -- which rely heavily on writers -- remained unanswered Thursday, with many segments of both thought to be off limits according to WGA strike rules.
More than such returning shows as The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Late Night With Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Comedy Central series hosts could find themselves toeing a narrow line between guild acceptability and audience approval.
The Daily Show the opening segment, in which Stewart riffs on the day's headlines with a set of scripted jokes, is unlikely to pass muster with the WGA. Guest interviews, on the other hand, are thought to be fair game.
Another area of uncertainty is the material between those segments, particularly Daily Show's corespondent segments with such personalities as John Oliver and Samantha Bee. All correspondents are returning to the air, Comedy Central confirmed, but it was unclear whether their reports from the field would be part of the shows.
"We're in very uncharted waters here," one TV executive said. »
ABC said Tuesday that Jimmy Kimmel Live would go back into production Jan. 2.
"Though it makes me sick to do so without my writers, there are more than 100 people whose financial well-being depends on our show," Kimmel said in a statement. "It is time to go back to work. I support my colleagues and friends in the WGA completely and hope this ends both fairly and soon."
With Kimmel's return, that leaves CBS late-night hosts David Letterman and Craig Ferguson as well as Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert who remain out. NBC's Carson Daly returned to work earlier. »
Kimmel already had been paying the salaries of some of his staff, while ABC was continuing to pay the rest. The show has been in repeats since the writers strike started Nov. 5.
Carson Daly's staff is back on the job since the host returned to work last week. He addressed the decision Monday night in his monologue in the first new episode of NBC's Last Call With Carson Daly.
"If I had not been back on the air tonight, 75 members of my loyal staff and crew were going to get laid off; that's really the only reason," he said.
TV personality Jimmy Kimmel has been showing his support for striking staff of his talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! - he's been paying their wages since they formed the picket lines almost four weeks ago. Members of the Writers Guild of America have been on strike since November 5, when discussions between the union and show producers broke down over a royalty dispute. And while fellow chat show hosts David Letterman and Conan O'Brien have it known that they are paying their staff's wages out of their own pocket, Kimmel has been keeping his kind gestures low-key. Kimmel is alleged to be keeping those worst hit by the strike - like junior production assistants and receptionists - on the pay roll, while the show's network, ABC, is continuing to pay the host's more senior staff, reports Tmz.com. »
Host Carson Daly is expected to start taping new episodes of his Burbank-based show this week that will begin airing next week, sources said Monday. Last Call airs at 1:35 a.m. weeknights.
While Last Call is the first talk show in late-night to re-enter production since the strike began Nov. 5, it's not the first talk show in all of television to do so. Ellen DeGeneres began taping new episodes of her syndicated daytime talker, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, on Nov. 6.
There's still no word on when NBC's other late-night talk shows -- The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and Late Night With Conan O'Brien -- or other late-night talk shows, including CBS' Late Show With David Letterman and "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" or ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, would return with new episodes. All of those shows, along with Last Call, have been in repeats. »
Late-night comedy shows such as NBC's The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and Saturday Night Live as well as Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report will go dark starting Monday as a result of the writers strike.
Each of those writing-intensive programs, along with NBC's Late Night With Conan O'Brien, are immediately going into repeats. It wasn't clear Friday afternoon what the plans are for other late-night shows including CBS' Late Show With David Letterman or The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. It's understood that contingency plans are in place for ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, but the specifics are unknown.
Meanwhile, The View, ABC's late-morning chatfest, will continue with its regular schedule.
" 'The View' will continue, without interruption," a spokesman said.
"SNL" with guest host Brian Williams is scheduled to go on as normal Saturday night but will go into repeats starting next weekend.
"Late-night is what gets hit the hardest," said Nancy Huck, a senior buyer at Starcom Media Vest's Spark Communications. "It becomes rerun city." She and other buyers didn't think that it would drastically hurt the late-night programs in the short run as some of them might have gone into repeats as the holidays neared. »
In addition, Daly will again host the special "NBC's New Year's Eve With Carson Daly," which will air live from New York's Times Square at 11:35 p.m. ET on Dec. 31.
Meanwhile, David Friedman also has inked a new two-year deal to remain as executive producer of Last Call. He also will again exec produce the Daly-hosted New Year's Eve special.
NBC said Last Call, which debuted in January 2002, is pulling in higher figures in the adults 18-34 demo than other late-night competitors including ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live and CBS' "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" for the year to date despite airing later than both shows. Last Call airs at 1:35 a.m. Monday-Friday.
"Carson Daly and David Friedman have reinvented 'Last Call' by adding comedy elements, a pace and an energy that have made the show a winner," said Rick Ludwin, executive vp late-night and primetime series at NBC. »
Talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel suffered a medical scare on Wednesday when he was rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. The host of Jimmy Kimmel Live and boyfriend of Sarah Silverman is "resting comfortably" after the operation to remove his appendix, according to his publicist Lewis Kay. He adds, "(He) is looking forward to getting back to work. The rest of this week's tapings have been cancelled until he is back on his feet." »
Andrea Wong, executive vp alternative programming, specials and late-night at ABC Entertainment, has been named president and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services, replacing Betty Cohen, who resigned Wednesday. The announcement had been expected (HR 4/26).
Wong will oversee all the day-to-day operations for Lifetime Television, LMN, Lifetime Real Women and Lifetime Digital (including LifetimeTV.com), including advertising sales, affiliate sales, research, programming, public affairs, marketing, business and legal affairs and strategic planning and operations.
Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group, and John Conomikes, director of the Hearst Corp., praised Wong in making the announcement. (Lifetime is a 50-50 joint venture of the Hearst Corp. and the Walt Disney Co.)
"Andrea is a straight shooter who is smart enough to know which challenges to undertake and fearless enough to see them through," Sweeney said. "She is also a true 'consumer-facing' executive, one who understands her audience and uses her experience to speak to them in compelling ways."
Added Conomikes: "Andrea is smart, creative and strategic. Her key relationships in the Hollywood community and her knowledge of the intricacies of the television business make her the perfect candidate to lead Lifetime into the future."
Wong has been a rising star at ABC. As head of the network's alternative department, she scored ABC's first reality hit with the 2000 series The Bachelor and its spinoff, The Bachelorette. She built the network's "feel-good reality" brand with such hits as Dancing With the Stars and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and such solid performers as Supernanny and Wife Swap. In 2004, she was elevated to executive vp, adding oversight of ABC's late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live to her portfolio. »
In one fell swoop, ABC has picked up three freshman and eight returning series for next season.
Dramas Grey's Anatomy, Lost and Boston Legal, dramedy Desperate Housewives, reality series Dancing with the Stars, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and The Bachelor and late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live also have also been picked up for next season, joining recently renewed America's Funniest Home Videos, Supernanny and Wife Swap.
"We have had a strong year, with two of the season's breakout hits, 'Ugly Betty' and 'Brothers & Sisters,' and the solid performance of 'Men In Trees,'" said ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson, who made the pickup announcement at the network's March development meeting with advertisers Wednesday. "We are pleased that viewers have invested in these new favorites along with our other returning series."
Though the pickups for hits like Grey's, Lost, Housewives, Betty, Dancing and Home Edition have been widely expected, the early vote of confidence for freshmen Men In Trees and Boston Legal, which have developed smaller but devoted fan base, was somewhat of a surprise. Remaining on the fence is another drama with limited following, sophomore What About Brian. No half-hour comedy made the cut for an early pickup, though veterans According to Jim and George Lopez are considered strong candidates to return. »
Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has spoken out about his decision to carry unruly guest Andy Dick off his show on Friday night, confessing the wacky funnyman always makes him "uncomfortable." Kimmel called security and helped them physically remove Dick from his chat show sofa after the comic started making unwanted advances toward fellow guest Ivanka Trump. The host says, "Andy did a segment, he was a little out of it. (When) she (Ivanka) came out, he wanted a big, wet kiss. It was time for Andy to go, so I escorted him out by his feet." But Kimmel has spoken to Dick since the Jimmy Kimmel Live incident, and he insists the comic is far from upset about his rude exit. Kimmel adds, "He's Andy. He's not upset. He's not apologetic. He's just nutty. He always makes me a little uncomfortable, you have no idea what he's going to do next." »
Comedian Andy Dick was forcibly removed by security during an appearance on US talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live last Friday night, after repeatedly touching guest Ivanka Trump without her permission. Trump, the daughter of real estate mogul Donald Trump, was attempting to promote her reality show The Apprentice, when Dick kept interrupting her with rude comments. The troubled comedian repeatedly rubbed Trump's legs and touched her hair, while Kimmel begged him to behave himself. When Dick asked Trump to "give him a big, fat, sloppy wet kiss right on the lips" and grabbed her arm, Kimmel called in two security guards. The talk show host carried Dick's feet and helped the guards drag him out of the studio. Trump was a good sport after the incident telling Kimmel, "That was brilliant. See, that was a much more entertaining segment. I could sit here and talk to you about the buildings I'm building in Chicago and Las Vegas, but I'm sure you'd much prefer to see Andy Dick actually forcefully removed from a stage." »
13 items from 2007
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