Some Late-Night TV Returning: Will Advertisers Do The Same?

No monologues, no sketches. Just guests and music. What more do you want in a late-night show?  For networks the answer would be: big-time, high-premium, national advertising. 

Hopefully this return to programming is enough for viewers as well -- they'll now know what DVDs to buy and what movies to see.

Starting in January, NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" will return with fresh advertising, fresh guests, but no writers helping things out.

It works out well for NBC, giving the network some breathing room. NBC has been out of sale for sometime, and has been giving cash back to advertisers. 

Why Leno and O'Brien? NBC, the fourth-place network in prime time, can gain from advertisers in perhaps the only area where it still dominates: late-night television.



But will the quality still be there? There'll be no scripted late-night comedy. But maybe you don't need it. No matter; the Writers Guild of America is going to be pissed.

Perhaps Leno and O'Brien, as WGA members, are violating the spirit of the strike. One guesses the two can't even roughly formulate some pre-guest notes. No riffing about Tom Cruise, Suri, and Katie Holmes. That is scripted work.

Discussing bringing Leno and O'Brien back, NBC says it's concerned that non-union staffers will lose their jobs. If that's the case, what about once-a-week prime-time scripted shows?  Is NBC not concerned about those staffers?

CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" seemingly wants to go about it another way -- getting a real agreement for writers so they can get real paychecks again.

The WGA seems intent on picketing wherever it needs to. If Leno and O'Brien are back, why not set out strike lines in front of those who hold the real money --- P&G's offices in Cincinnati, Nike's Beaverton, Ore. headquarters, or General Motors' digs in Detroit?

One warning, though:  Advertisers are good writers, too --- especially when it comes to penning checks for media plans, which, in turn, help to pay late-night TV writers.

Next story loading loading..