back to article Writers' strike hits US talk shows hard

A strike by script writers demanding higher residuals has claimed its first two high-profile scalps: The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno were both forced to air re-runs in the absence of coruscatingly witty, freshly topical pre-penned banter. Terrifyingly, Dancing With The Stars managed to …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Simon Greenwood

    You *have* seen Larry Sanders haven't you?

    That's pretty true to life, it a lot of writers to put together, for example a Late Show with David Letterman - they're all credited at the end. Well, if we could see Letterman in the UK. Bastards.

  2. Ross


    Don't think I'd notice the difference regards endless reruns to be honest, but mess with Heroes?! Can someone meet me at LAX with a gun please? I need to "talk" to some ppl....

  3. JP
    Black Helicopters

    Well done Ross...

    I think you just got yourself added to the "No-Fly" list...

    And all your namesakes to boot!

  4. Mike Richards Silver badge

    The sole reason for American chatshow hosts... to make Jonathan Ross look witty.

  5. Andy

    Whats next? A national Philosophers strike?

    I can't help feeling there is something slightly ridiculous about all this. I can understand that the threat of prolonged strike action by, for example, Nurses/Firefighters/Police/Train drivers or even Civil Servents would be a scary prospect, but Script Writers!? Hardly the end of the civilisation as we know it is it?

    In the immortal words of Douglas Adams:

    "That's right!" agreed Majikthise. "You'll have a national Philosopher's strike on your hands!"

    Deep Thought: "Whom will that inconvience?"

    On the other hand if it takes the new series of Heros off the air then I take it all back - give them what ever they want - now!!!


  6. Bob Jones

    Letterman in Blighty

    Simon, Letterman does air in the UK on Sky and Virgin ... 282, 9PM daily ... luckily the channel is 3 wweks behind, so enjoy the next 3 weeks!

  7. Dan

    who gives a shit?

    tv has been dominated by this trite load of wank for too many years now.

  8. Kwac

    I feel sorry

    for all those poor presenters having to struggle by on talent alone - with no support - all for a paltry few hundred thousand a year.

    Oh, so they're not showing new shows?

    Stupid of me

  9. Slaine

    ... and IF ...

    Okay, so I understand that the writer's want better credit, what - a bigger font on the screaming titles at the end of the show, when everyone's gone to make a cup of tea?

    I prefer to turn this one on it's head, the good ole' 180degrees ... Still waiting ... Paris ;-P

    IF presenters actually wrote all of their own material or actually ad-libbed it as they present themselves to the camera.... maybe then you'd have presenters being paid something close to what they are worth. What we have at the momnet is predominantly a bunch of over-opinionated brats whose sole claim on a mega-pay-cheque is that they can say phrases like "d'ywanfrieswiddat" with meaning.

    So yes, I say give the writers more credit, more cash, anything - just get Heroes back on track and while you're at it, PLEASE get Oprah and her thousand strong team of useless flea-ridden huskies off the air.

  10. Andrew Moore


    It seems Jon Stewart is going to pay his writers out of his own pocket for the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.

    On the plus side, with no writers maybe The Simpsons will start to improve again.

  11. Steve Wehrle

    "Dancing" Judges

    So if the judges on "Dancing With The Stars" didn't have a script, did they make up their own scores or were they briefed beforehand about who was going to be sent home?

  12. bobbles31


    You mean people actually get paid to write that crap?

    (Heroes included)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Steve Wehrle

    If you look at the credits for any of these reality shows with judges it usually states that the judges decisions are made in consultation with the producers. which roughly translates as they are told who to keep for the benefit of ratings.

    posted anon embarassed to admit having seen never mind watching that tripe.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Let hope they don't strike here

    If they strike in the UK, how will ITV be able to pick the winners in advance of the phone compititions?

  15. yeah, right.


    I'd say it's a tempest in a teapot, but the tempest is more like a mild breeze and the teapot is nano-scaled. What an utter load of bollocks!

    Then again, I haven't owned a TV for several years now, and I haven't missed it at all. When I do catch a snippet or two, I still notice that there might now be 570 channels, but there's really still nothing on.

    Let the writers keep striking. Who. Really. Gives. A. Flying. Toss? I mean, really?

  16. Anonymous Coward

    The end of the world is upon us!

    "I can understand that the threat of prolonged strike action by, for example, Nurses/Firefighters/Police/Train drivers or even Civil Servents would be a scary prospect, but Script Writers!? Hardly the end of the civilisation as we know it is it?"

    If only that was true.

    Step into almost any restaurant here and you'll immediately notice the multiple televisions, and worse, all the people sitting intently watching them. Chrysler are now punting the 2008 model minivans with Sirius satellite TV receivers, because God forbid your kids have to go 5 minutes without their fix of audio/visual entertainment.

    Social interaction? Talking? Pfft. Who needs that when we have our DirecTV super-premium-deluxe pack? Anyway, that's what IM and cellphones are for, right?

    If this goes on for more than a week or two, I predict that most major urban areas in the USA will be reduced to blazing wreckage as TV-starved mobs take to the streets like extras from a George Romero flick.

    Now excuse me, I really need to go panic buy bottled water, bread and canned foods for my underground zombie-proof bunker.

  17. Kevin Turnquist
    Thumb Up

    @ Andrew Moore

    "It seems Jon Stewart is going to pay his writers out of his own pocket for the Daily Show and the Colbert Report."


    The rest of them can stay on strike. I don't really care - if these two keep going, it's all I watch that is "scripted" anyway - and by far, the most entertaining stuff out there.

    (if I recall, most of the on-air talent for TDS are also the writers - I think)

  18. Kevin Turnquist
    Thumb Down

    Aw, nuts

    Just found out that Jon Stewart is covering the writers salaries, maybe, but the writers won't actually be writing - just a way to help them out.

    Nice gesture, though I'll miss TDS.

  19. Morely Dotes

    Perhaps they could write something worth reading...

    Oh, no. What am I thinking? If they could actually *write* then they wouldn't be in Television, would they.

    Sorry. Momentary loss of reality when I thought TV writers could actually do anything more useful than leap from a very tall building.

  20. Glenn Amspaugh
    Paris Hilton

    Think of the cartoons!

    Man, what's <a href="">Spongebob</a> going to be like, sans writers? These things don't write themselves, you know. It's not like they could have a big ole' computer out there spitting out formulaic crap!

  21. laird cummings


    The entertainment industry employs about 1.3 million people in California. That's a lot of people being bothered. Philosophers may not pay the bills for the state, but if you throw a monkey wrench this large into the enterainment system's gears, it'll certainly be noticed, and sooner rather than later.

    The producers have been robbing the writers blind for a very long time. 2 cents residual on a 10-dollar DVD? A DVD that wouldn't have existed without the writers? That's outright robbery. And they get NADA from internet, streaming, podcasts, etc, even though those have revenue streams attached in one way or another.

    Screen Actors Guild is next... they'll be watching this one closely.

    Jay Leno joins the list of stand-up stars (Jay himself hasn't been a proper standup in decades) with his high-profile support of the writers.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    F'ing unions

    They should be shot.. quartered...strung up.....hung...and shot again for good measure.

    They have worn out their usefulness... they are nothing but money grubbing greedy a-holes who need to be told to stop whineing and be quiet.

    Its these so called strikes that cause the economy to be severely strained and eventually killed off.

    These people don't think too far beyond their own pocket book... they think that by getting a bigger paycheck or whatever... makes them feel good.. problem is.. all they are going to do is end up getting laid off... because they bankrupted their own freaking employers.

    Oh.. I just described ford and GM didn't?


    Whatever happened to people with thinking brains?

  23. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    .. is 'Heroes' Sounds like some form of 'naughty' disease

  24. John A Blackley

    From The Front Lines

    Day two of the writers' strike and it's realy beginning to bite. All across America this morning, areas around watercoolers were deserted as the usual purveyors of, "Hey, on Letterman/O'Brien/Leno last night there was this......." sat quietly in their cubicles, starved of inane, second-rate patter.

    In supermarkets and filling stations across the country, glazed-eyed consumers - shell-shocked by the complete absense of talent shown by the 'stars' of their favorite, homogenised, shrink-wrapped, safe-for-slow-witted-kiddies thirty-miute gobs of pablum - wandered around in demented silence. It has been reported that, in a remote area of Kentucky, a woman was heard to mumble to a neighbour, "', doin'?" The reporter states that the recipient of this try at actual conversation fled, rending her hair and screaming.

    Meanwhile, in Texas, a man was frantically channel surfing - apparently in the belief that he would find an episode of 24 Hours he had not already memorised - when his wife entered the room and asked, "Say honey, as this strike thing is on, how 'bout you help me bring in the groceries." Police described the scene, upon their arrival, as 'gruesome'.

  25. Brett

    Heros et al

    I would have thought TV series were written *before* they started to show the series on air.

    Hopefully better pay = better writers.

    Also lucky computer games arn't considered "real" entertainment and so the strike won't stop fallout 3.

  26. BoldMan

    Heroes series 2

    Its so dire, the writers strike will come as a relief! You thought Series 1 was slow... (cries)

  27. Shadow Systems

    Give the masses a chance, & some of them just *might* get a life...

    Unfortunately, "some" in this case will probably be an infinitesimally small value barely above naught, & "life" will end up equating to "random acts of heightened insanity".

    Honestly, I don't care.

    I haven't watched television (except to catch the occasional PBS/NOVA special, or a news bulletin) in so long, it devours more dust than electricity.

    Turn the television off, then read a book, go outside, ride a bicycle, get a hobby, but go DO something that broadens your mind!

  28. Slaine

    behind the lines

    ...meanwhile, back on planet Earth.

    The illustrious and heroic typographical contributors to 'El Reg's combined online entertainment and technological news review medium, quoters of parrot sketches, forum of the number 42 and Paris Hilton appreciation society have managed to prove in a matter of hours, that the worlds highest paid TV script writers are, without a shadow of a doubt, a bunch of shallow, leeching, unimaginative retards, devoid of integrity and of original thought.

    How else would this thread have managed to attract such a high calibre of literary input?

  29. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Shaken presenters

    "the shaken presenters 'improvising' "

    Goodness me ! They didn't have their daily quota of pithy jokes on a prompt card any more !

    Once upon there were presenters that could not only steer and maintain a conversation, but also had the knowledge and culture to actually appear as if they had a clue.

    Alas, those people retired, either willingly or not, to be replaced by the same generation of useless androids endlessly parroting inane banter. There might have been some measure of cost reduction in the move, but the end result is that TV is now even more stupid than the people who watch it.

    Which makes those who watch it feel like they're "on top" of things.


  30. Anonymous Coward


    You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to write for TV or movies during a strike - even if they're not a union member, the unions can (and do) still punish them by banning them from ever joining the union. Of course, I'm not sure why union membership is required to work in the industry. I suspect a lot of what the unions are doing would be illegal in any other industry.

    (Incidentally, one of the main things they're demanding is jurisdiction over reality TV, web video ("new media") and animated series. Currently, if a non-member does writing for one of these, I don't think there's a lot they can do. The media companies would have to be stupid to give them what they want on reality TV - it'd massively increase the amount of damage they could inflict, especially for live reality TV where I suspect they could basically force them to scrap expensive long-running series mid season just by striking for a few days.)

  31. Wookieman

    time for Duke Nukem to shine!

    With all the writers on strike and tv off the air i hear that Duken Nukem forever is that much closer to being released

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021