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Yesterday, it was announced that strapping television personality Carson Daly will defy the ongoing writers’ strike and resume production this week on his late-night talk show Last Call, currently one of NBC’s highest-rated programs among viewers who frequently forget to turn off the TV before going to bed.
Now, the Smoking Gun has a leaked e-mail from Daly to friends and family members, asking them to call into a “joke hotline” to record suggested material for him to play on the air while his writers are picketing. “This is in no way meant to make fun of them (or you), but just to play a fun collage of random people trying to ‘help me out,’” he says in the e-mail. “Myself and one other person will be hearing these only,” implying that his viewership is even worse than we thought.
Unsurprisingly, the Writers Guild was upset, and yesterday it issued the following statement: “We’re disappointed at Carson Daly’s decision to return to work. Mr. Daly is not a writer and not a member of the WGA, unlike other late-night hosts Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, and Jimmy Kimmel, who have all resisted network pressure and honored our writers’ picket lines. We hope he’ll change his mind and follow the lead of the other late-night hosts.”
As much as it pains us, we’re actually going to take Daly’s side on this one — he isn’t a Writers Guild member, so it’s not like he’s Ellen or anything. Plus, as Nikki Finke points out, his returning to work will save the jobs of his non-writing staff who would’ve been laid off if he stayed off the air another week. And though it might give Last Call’s anemic ratings a small boost, it’s not like this is any major PR coup. Also, if anything, the “joke hotline” bit would probably mostly have served to emphasize the show’s need for writers. Sadly, the number (818-260-5107) has already been disconnected, so we were unable to call in with our joke about the pirate with a steering wheel in his pants.
WGA ‘Appalled’ at NBC’s Carson Daly [Broadcasting & Cable]
WGA Scolds Carson Daly For Returning ‘To Support Staff’ And Seeking Scab Jokes [Deadline Hollywood Daily]
Carson Daly Seeking Scabs [Smoking Gun]