Monday, December 17, 2007

Jay Leno/Conan O'Brien Return Without Union Support

On January 2nd, both Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien will return to their late night shows on NBC without the support of striking writers. On the east coast, David Letterman is working with his own striking writers to try and obtain a waver that will allow them to return to work even while the strike continues. Speculation has suggested for months that major Hollywood studios intended to use this current Hollywood writers strike to break that union and considering how little progress has been made to date toward a settlement, that speculation might just be fact. Millions of late night fans of Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien are sure to be excited about their return to late night television early next year. Also, the hundreds of people that work on these shows who were laid off as a result of the strike are certain to be trilled at the possibility of going back to work once again.

While I believe the demands of the striking writers to be justified, apparently there are some issues between the major Hollywood studios and their writers which have left some 'bad blood' over the years. Another problem the Hollywood writers face is a changing world where labor unions are not as powerful as they once were. This weakness in public support for organized labor is hurting their collective bargaining power at the negotiating table with their bosses at major Hollywood studios. I must admit that I too believe that while labor unions once served a great purpose in this country, in recent decades rather than lending support to the safety and wages of their members – they instead have been loured too deeply into the world of democratic politics where member dues are routinely used to support democratic candidates that many in the union would not support if given the choice of where that money should be spent.

With Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien returning to television next month and with David Letterman finding a way to do the same thing, the writers union will lose even more leverage against the major Hollywood studios to end this long running strike with a fair settlement. In the end, I doubt if the major Hollywood studios will be successful at putting the writers union out of business, but they will most certainly hurt it. There are other events that are requesting a union wavers like the 'Golden Globe' and 'Academy' Awards and whether or not the unions grant those wavers should be interesting to watch along with the reaction of Hollywood. I see no possibility that either the Golden Globe or Academy Awards Show will be canceled because of pick lines. So the next big questions will be, which Hollywood starts will cross the pick lines to attend these huge award shows and more importantly how funny will the shows really be without striking writers there to add the funny punchlines to the shows content?

Read more about Hollywood Issues:

From Riches To Rags – NBC Television Network
Prepare For Non Stop Reality TV As Writers Strike Continues
Hollywood Writers Strike - Will Anyone Really Care?
Ellen DeGeneres - Non Profit Animal Shelters
Lindsay Lohan Out Of Rehab For Good?

Hutch Report Archive