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As the fifth week of the writers’ strike draws to a close, many decreasingly wealthy hosts of late-night television — most of whom are paying their non-working staffs themselves since the networks aren’t — are quite reasonably wondering when this labor-dispute nonsense will be over so they can go back to, you know, keeping all their money for themselves. The New York Times reports this morning that the strike may be costing some hosts up to $250,000 a week, which still a lot of money even if you make $35 million a year (like Letterman does). Meanwhile, the Times says, the networks are doing totally fine! Late-night-TV ratings haven’t dropped that much, and they’re still selling lots of ads while the late-night shows are in reruns. Plus, CBS and NBC are saving $1 million a week in production costs! You might even say this writers’ strike is the best thing that ever happened to them!
So might Carson Daly’s brave decision to return to the air this week actually be hurting the networks — and therefore helping the picketing writers? Sure looks like it! Every dollar in production costs that Daly racked up this week just put more pressure on the AMPTP to offer the WGA a decent contract as quickly as possible. Carson Daly, we salute you!
Strike Costs Become Test for Hosts of Talk Shows [NYT]Carson Daly: Writers’-Strike Hero?