Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Late Late Show

Coming next month: late night television programming will rival the output of Dennis Miller and Greg Gutfeld in terms of sheer crapitude. Not that Letterman and Conan are unfunny hacks (or right-wing hacks), but they'll be working without writers, won't be writing any material themselves and won't have much in the way of entertaining guests.

Despite going back to work amid a strike by the Writers Guild of America, the late-night hosts, all of whom are WGA members, have agreed to respect work rules set down by the union. That means, in essence, they can't write material that their striking writing staffs would have produced for them.


The shows are also likely to be missing another staple -- glamorous, big-name celebrities pushing their latest movies and TV shows. Members of the Screen Actors Guild have pledged solidarity with the writers and are likely to boycott the shows.


The best guess is that the shows will patch together guest lists comprising athletes, authors, pundits and the semi-famous. There will likely be more musical acts, and more talk than comedy.

The immediate future of late-night TV may be on display on the Carson Daly-hosted "Last Call" on NBC. Since returning Dec. 4, Daly, a non-WGA member, has booked reality-show contestants, NFL great Jerry Rice, mixed-martial arts fighter Jimmy Smith and model Karolina Kurkova on his half-hour program.

They could interview bloggers, I suppose, but the ones worth hearing from wouldn't cross the picket lines.

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