Late-night talk shows gearing up for post-strike return

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Just as they were among the first shows to be bitten by the Writers Guild of America strikes, late-night talk programs could be the first productions to turn the lights on following the tentative deal that brought the strike to an apparent end.

Variety checked in with crew members from various programs, and the consensus seems to be the shows could be back as early as October.

“[I]t’s not exactly a light switch, but as long as you can get everybody back in, the network just has to pull repeats and start putting new broadcast shows back on,” one staffer commented. “It’s just about what goes into those shows. And that’s the part that you need a little lead time for, is to figure exactly what you’re coming back and doing.”

That said, one staffer joked, “I don’t think anyone’s interested in rushing to put a crappy first show together.”

The trade notes that the hosts of the major network shows, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers and John Oliver, will likely coordinate a return to air once the deal is ratified.

The hosts have been close during the impasse, what with their Strike Force Five podcast benefiting their out-of-work employees.

One sticky wicket remains, however: With the SAG-AFTRA strike still on, actors won’t be able to appear to plug their projects.

That said, the strike doesn’t apply to a host of potential guests, including politicians, authors and music acts.

Actors could also appear, provided they’re not promoting a studio show. They can chat about a book, a charity initiative or an independent film that has received a waiver from the union.

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