Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon & NBC worked out a deal with striking late-show writers

The Writers Guild went on strike this week and no one knows how long the strike will last. The last WGA strike (in 2007-08) lasted 14 weeks and had a profound effect on television, films, awards shows and Hollywood unions at the time. Back then, people understood why the WGA went on strike, but the aftermath wasn’t great – the WGA ended up weakened overall, and the strike was a big reason why we’ve seen a proliferation of reality programming in the years since. This year’s strike feels a lot different – younger people are more pro-union, there’s a better cultural understanding of just how much money writers make for studios, networks and streamers, and there’s a better understanding of just how big “the pie” is, and the unions want their slice. Keep in mind, SAG-AFTRA is standing with the WGA because the actors also know that they’re getting screwed out of a lot of money too.

So, it absolutely feels like there’s a lot of momentum on the WGA’s side and hopefully that means that studios, streamers and networks will come to the table. One of the immediate effects of the strike is that all of the late-night shows – so dependent on the writers’ room – have shut down. Most of the late-night hosts are also WGA members, like Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers. There was some talk about how Fallon wasn’t doing enough for his striking writing staff, but the trade papers report that both Fallon and Seth Meyers met with their people and assured the writers that they would get paid and still have healthcare (for now).

NBC late night hosts Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers will help cover their staff’s pay during the Writers Guild of America strike.

Staffers for Fallon’s Tonight Show and Meyers’ Late Night learned in meetings Wednesday morning that NBC will cover two weeks of pay for workers on the two shows. Fallon and Meyers will personally pay their teams for a third week; health insurance for employees of both programs is guaranteed through September, per a source close to the two shows. NBC didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Along with other late night shows, The Tonight Show and Late Night were among the first productions to shut down after the WGA began picketing on Tuesday.

According to tweets from Tonight Show staffer Sarah Kobos, the three weeks of pay weren’t initially guaranteed: “At a meeting Jimmy wasn’t even at, we are told NBC decided to stop paying us after this week and end our health insurance after this month if the strike is ongoing,” Kobos wrote Tuesday. “They won’t even tell us if we will technically be furloughed. Just active employees who aren’t paid.” Kobos then shared news about the extended salary and healthcare coverage guarantees Wednesday morning.

Meyers, speaking on Late Night on Monday, said: “I love writing. I love writing for TV. I love writing this show. I love that we get to come in with an idea for what we want to do every day and we get to work on it all afternoon and then I have the pleasure of coming out here. No one is entitled to a job in show business. But for those people who have a job, they are entitled to fair compensation. They are entitled to make a living. I think it’s a very reasonable demand that’s being set out by the guild. And I support those demands.”

[From THR & Deadline]

Fallon went to the Met Gala on Monday and I saw a clip of him answering questions about the strike on the carpet (I’m including it below). Fallon honestly didn’t sound like he had given the strike much thought at that point, but I guess people got to him over the next 24 hours. I’m glad NBC is guaranteeing two weeks of pay, and that both Fallon and Meyers are promising a third week, if that’s what it takes. I hope that the relevant parties can come to the table and work sh-t out a lot faster than in the last strike. We’re honestly living through a golden age of television/streaming/content – the writers are merely asking to be paid fairly for what they’re bringing to the table.

Screencap from Late Night with Seth Meyers, photo courtesy of Cover Images.

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15 Responses to “Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon & NBC worked out a deal with striking late-show writers”

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  1. SAS says:

    Omg I remember that last strike! I was in college and was devastated at s2 Friday Night Lights being butchered! I still skip over that ridiculous season!

    I know there’s a number of conditions they’re seeking but honestly, the AI stuff is so fucking awful. Why have we let it get this far without any legislation or practice frameworks in place? Ugh, I was about to say “what’s next?” but got too much of the heebie jeebies.

    Strength to the union, hope the strike is short for them.

    • Zazzoo says:

      Did you watch the Riches? Back in the days of cable. I don’t recall which channel but it was Eddie Izzard (that’s still her name) and Minnie Driver and it was absolutely brilliant. Then tanked by the writer’s strike. I’m still sad about it. I absolutely support the writers, but I can mourn too.

    • Becks1 says:

      Years after it aired, we binged Lost, all 10 seasons. We could tell the exact moment the writers strike happened, it was so bad, lol, and the show never seemed to recover.

    • AnneL says:

      I remember that too. S2 of FNL was such a bust.

      I hope they work it out soon. I’m with Amanda Seyfried on this, Pay people what they are worth. It’s not that f**king hard.

    • Jennifer says:

      I don’t get why “we” want to create AI that will literally replace all humans and need for humans. Nobody learned from Terminator?

      • Robert Phillips says:

        Please stop that. We are no where near terminator. Where we are is a box sitting on a desk. And it can somewhat carry on a conversation with you. It cannot replicate. And it doesn’t have emotions. It’s the emotions that would make it dangerous.

    • Deering24 says:

      IIRC, Pushing Daisies got doomed by the writers’ strike, as well…:(

      • terra says:

        I will never get over the loss of Pushing Daisies. That one still hurts to this day.

  2. Emmi says:

    If we’re lucky, unions are going to make a major comeback in many countries. As an elder Millennial, I do feel a little guilty that my generation didn’t see their value. I live in a country with strong, employee-friendly labor laws and even here, the governments of the last 20-30 years managed to undermine those laws. We didn’t have a minimum wage until very recently. I worked for 5 bucks an hour for 4 years during uni.

    There have been some strikes in public transportation and other public services in recent weeks in Germany and the reaction of people was interesting. The press very subtly tried to twist the numbers to make it seem like workers’ demands were unreasonable but MANY people supported the strike. People have had it. The want to pay their rent and raise their kids. I’ve said it before but Gen Z are the ones we should look to, we can learn from them. They grew up with no illusions or promises, with Covid, insane housing market developtments and the realization that Gen X and Millennials didn’t pay attention.

    • SarahCS says:

      I very much agree with you Emmi, I think I’m a few years older that you (ish) and while I’m half French (and know that any time I go and visit my family there’s a chance of disruption due to strikes – c’est la vie), the huge surge in strikes here in the UK where I live has been something to see and I have been so pleased to see the general levels of support for them. I’ve been as vocal as I can arguing in favour of the strikes and getting better and fairer working conditions but I have to be honest and say it’s only recently that I’ve truly appreciated the importance of unions.

  3. Jay says:

    Something I really like about Seth Meyers’ show is he features his writers (and crew) in the show, which gives them recognition but also more compensation (because they are appearing on camera and or speaking). One of my favourite things is the YouTube segment “corrections” he does, which is a straight up comedy set Seth performs with just the crew as his audience, trying to crack them up. Anyway, he seems like a good egg and I hope the writers get everything they deserve for their work.

  4. Lizzie Bathory says:

    My hopes are with the WGA. The business can’t survive if it’s impossible for writers to make a living. I hope the bosses come to their senses sooner rather than later.

  5. HeyKay says:

    I support Unions.
    IIRC during the last writers strike Letterman came out immediately in support of the Writers and he personally paid his writers for weeks.
    Seth Meyers was successful as a writer before he became a performer, so I’m not at all surprised that he is openly supporting the writers.
    Fallon, should be openly supporting the writers, more.
    The studios, streaming platforms, etc. make the mountains of money.

    I also hope that all Unions gain strength and people are fairly paid, with benefits.
    I hope the strike is settled quickly.

  6. NJGR says:

    I believe Colbert also made an on-air statement in favor of the writers’ demands.
    Go union!

  7. FilmTurtle says:

    Totally support the guild on this. They saw we were fast heading to a point where studios would “hire” an AI chatbot to generate a script and then just have one low-level writer clean it up and fix the grammar. Smart to get ahead of that NOW. Remember, 15 years ago during the prior strike, the studios did their best to minimize streaming, FFS. The amount of actual money this would cost the studios is minimal, really. It’s just bizarre to tell the guild they can’t afford any salary increases when they’re paying hundreds of millions to a small handful of top execs, and spending billions-with-a-B on content.