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LATESHOWS GOING BACK TO WORK - WILL CELEBS COME ON?
NBC latenight hosts Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien will return to work Jan. 2, two months after their shows went dark in sympathy with the WGA strike.
Move had been expected for some time, with the early January start date becoming an inevitability last week (Daily Variety, Dec. 14). Over the weekend, David Letterman's Worldwide Pants said it was trying to get its two CBS shows -- Letterman's own "Late Show" and "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" -- back on the air and was seeking an interim deal with the guild to bless the return with writers.
O'Brien and Leno issued separate statements explaining that their decisions were motivated by the need to keep their non-WGA staffers employed.
"The truth is that shows like mine are hybrids, with both written and nonwritten content," O'Brien said. "An unwritten version of 'Late Night,' though not desirable, is possible -- and no one has to be fired."
Leno indicated that the lack of progress in the negotiations between the WGA and AMPTP was key.
"Now that the talks have broken down and there are no further negotiations scheduled, I feel it's my responsibility to get my 100 nonwriting staff, which were laid off, back to work," he said. "We fully support our writers, and I think they understand my decision."
Leno and O'Brien aren't returning to work immediately because, with the holidays next week, it didn't make sense to return for a few days only to go dark again.
The big uncertainty facing the hosts is whether celebs will agree to appear on the latenight shows. "Tonight" exec producer Debbie Vickers and "Late Show" exec producer Jeff Ross said it's too early to say what their guest lineups will look like -- but they're hopeful.
TIS' THE MOVIE AWARD SEASON
"Juno" was the big winner at the 12th annual Satellite Awards with three wins for feature (comedy), best actress for Ellen Page and best screenplay for Diablo Cody.
As "No Country for Old Men" took top honors from the Southeastern Film Critics Association on Monday. In addition to naming "No Country" the best film of the year, org gave Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay to Ethan and Joel Coen. Pic's Javier Bardem was also named Best Supporting Actor.