Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Whatever Gets You Through The Night...

I'm a huge disappointment. Such is my role on the Arts staff. So while all of you are taking the time to post stellar year-end lists, I'm going to continue my duty as Strike Bitch.

Between the "America's Next Top Model" Super Modelthon on VH1 (yeah, I know you're watching it too, don't lie) and the awesome DVDs I hope everyone was lucky enough to receive for Christmas, (or whatever gift-giving holiday you celebrate) check out the tube tomorrow night. Beginning at 10 p.m., the late night shows are back.

The Writers' Strike's first casualties, and some would argue the hardest hit, were the late night shows. Viewers have been without new episodes of "The Daily Show," "Late Night" and their brethren for about two months, and it has been rough. When you're used to new content every night, it's like drug withdrawal when it stops. Suddenly, a bunch of viewers were challenged to go to bed early.

Anyway, the AMPTP (aka the dark force the WGA is fighting in the struggle for fair compensation in the strike) stopped paying the staffs of the shows when the strike began. Hosts could only pay those salaries (out of their own pockets, mind you) for so long. NBC, Comedy Central and the other networks were going to fire these below-the-line employees. So Stephen and friends decided to return to the airwaves, and Wednesday night is when it's going to happen.

David Letterman's Worldwide Pants was able to negotiate a deal with the WGA, allowing both his writing staff and the staff of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" to return and be justly compensated. The deal shows that fair ground can be reached, and ensures continued quality content for both of these shows. (Well, I don't watch Craig Ferguson but Letterman's "Late Show" will still rock I'm sure.)

Satirical news fans aren't so lucky. Where the rest of the network late night hosts can just expand guest segments since as WGA members they aren't allowed to perform writing duties, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart shows depend on writing. Viewers tune in to see them skewer the news, and the guests are usually a pleasant additional to the razor sharp wit of those staffs. And since Colbert and Stewart, formidable comedians in their own right to say the least, also cannot perform writing tasks, it is hard for viewers to see a bright side in their return.

I've just given you some reasons to tune in on Wednesday night for the late night. It is going to be a big deal. Maybe you want to see how much your favorite show's content suffers sans scribes, or if you want to hear Letterman support the writers and stick it to the producers, it'll be a worthy night of television. Turn Tyra off, take a nap, make some coffee, because I have a feeling late night TV hosts will be making waves and ruffling some higher-ups' feathers. They may have been able to force the hosts to return, but what they do with the airwaves is up to them.

All the good little reporters can keep making their lists now. Sorry I hijacked the blog's flow.

-Meryn, who is also obsessed with Feist's "1 2 3 4."

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