With the increasing likelihood that the writers' strike will last forever, the late-night hosts may be secretly plotting their return, says Variety this morning. Because of tanking ratings for Letterman, Conan, Leno, and Craig Ferguson (Kimmel's doing just great in repeats, apparently), CBS and NBC's late shows could be back in new episodes on January 7, and maybe even sooner. To avoid being vilified (like non-WGA member Carson Daly was, unfairly), they will probably all be back on the same night.
"Dave Letterman on the air without writers and pissed off about it would be as powerful as anything we [union members] can do," says picketing Late Show scribe Bill Sheft in this morning's New York Post. "He made the right decision, and when and if he decides to come back, it will be the right decision … Maybe his greatest potential is as an on-air provocateur." Mostly, though, coming back would give Sheft's boss a reason to shave his new beard.