Late-night programmes to show reruns during Writers Guild strike

TV hosts voice support for Writers Guild of America as members demand increased pay in age of streaming

Stephen Colbert's The Late Show is one of several major late-night shows to broadcast reruns during the Hollywood writers' strike. AP
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Major late-night TV shows in the US will broadcast reruns as members of the Writers Guild of America begin their first strike in 15 years.

About 11,500 writers stopped work on Tuesday after six weeks of negotiations with networks and streamers failed to meet their demands of higher pay, which they believe is threatened by streaming.

Workers are also demanding more writers for each show and shorter exclusive contracts.

Late-night shows went dark after the strike began, and many are scheduled to air reruns.

“Everyone, including myself, hope both sides reach a deal, but I also think that the writers’ demands are not unreasonable,” Late Show host Stephen Colbert said during Monday's programme.

Other shows to air reruns this week include The Tonight Show, the Daily Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Late Show and Late Night.

Late-night shows were the first programmes affected during the WGA strike in 2007, airing reruns before largely improvising their way through new shows as the strike continued.

Conan O'Brien, then host of The Tonight Show on NBC, spun his wedding ring on his desk while the show was broadcast.

During the strike, member-affiliated writers are not allowed to write, negotiate or present future projects, among other rules listed by the WGA.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the bargaining representative for studios and production companies, said it offered “generous increases in compensation for writers and improvements in streaming residuals”.

Seth Meyers, host of NBC's Late Night and a member of the WGA, on Friday said his experience as a Saturday Night Live writer during the 2007 strike was “miserable”.

“And it would be a really miserable thing for people to have to go through, especially considering we're on the heels of that awful pandemic,” Meyers said before this year's strike was announced.

He said he hoped the two sides could come to an agreement, adding that he believes what the writers are asking for is “not unreasonable”.

Associated Press contributed to this report

Updated: May 03, 2023, 6:26 AM