If there is a writers strike, late-night television will be the first to suffer, and its stars are preparing for the blow.

If the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are unable to come to an agreement by May 1, the nightly talk shows The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and The Daily Show, as well as Saturday Night Live, will be among the first high-profile shows to deal with the effects of a strike.

Kimmel and Colbert, the latter of whom formerly served as host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, will have firsthand knowledge of what transpired in 2007–2008 during the previous writers strike. At the time, Meyers appeared on Saturday Night Live.

While Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and Jay Leno of The Tonight Show are no longer hosting their respective programmes, Conan O’Brien of Late Night, David Letterman of The Late Show, Craig Ferguson of The Late Late Show, and Carson Daly of Last Call, many people who are still working on these productions recall the mayhem that occurred at the end of 2007.

James Corden will be grateful that his final episode of The Late Late Show airs on April 27 and not a week from now.

“There would be no effort to avoid [a strike] as someone who identifies as a writer. I wouldn’t be looking for ways to write better if I were a late-night host.

Those who recall that Letterman and Ferguson were able to get their writers back to their shows before Leno, O’Brien, Kimmel, Stewart, and Colbert won’t find this assertion odd.

On January 2, 2008, after a break of over two months, Leno, Letterman, Kimmel, and O’Brien all resumed their broadcasts. On January 7, Stewart and Colbert came after them.

However, Letterman was able to work out a side agreement with the WGA because of a peculiar ownership arrangement through his production firm Worldwide Pants, which he used to control The Late Show and The Late Late Show instead of CBS.

Meanwhile, Leno, Kimmel, O’Brien, and others worked for their own networks. First-time host Daly, who was not a member of the WGA, received a lot of criticism, including from the organisation, which expressed disappointment that he didn’t “resist network pressure” or respect writers’ picket lines.

Leno declared, “A Jew, a Christian, and a Muslim walk into a bar,” as the first line of his first show back without writers. Because of the authors’ strike, the Jew explains to the Muslim, “See, I have no idea what they say.”

In January 2008, WGA writers went on strike in front of "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

In January 2008, WGA writers went on strike in front of “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”
Getty Images/Charley Gallay

Stewart remarked when he returned, “Here’s the problem: Without the writers, any movie reference that I make is going to be from the ’80s.” Stewart now presents Apple’s The Problem with Jon Stewart.

Stewart was likewise irritated that the WGA refused to work out a settlement with his programme, just like Letterman did.

Kimmel previously claimed that the strike destroyed his money since he was paying a large portion of his crew during the strike. They won’t want to have to pay out of pocket again so soon because the majority, if not all, of the late-night hosts experienced a similar situation during the early days of the pandemic.

Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel
ABC/Randy Holmes

The ABC star added that several of the hosts came together during the strike since they all wanted to return at the same time.

They weren’t all as close together as the current crop, which makes this noteworthy. As they did with Covid, the hosts and their showrunners are keeping in regular touch to monitor the situation. The stars frequently guest on one other’s shows since the group has grown pretty close over the past few years.

Informed by a late-night source that they have been praying against a strike.

The source continued, “I have been and will continue to talk to the other shows to see what they’re up to. “We must encourage the writers; they are wonderful. Having said that, the rest of the staff is fantastic, and I don’t want anyone to lose their job or a paycheck. What’s the ideal middle ground there? Finding it out has not been simple.

It’s probably irresponsible that we haven’t been preparing for [a strike] because it seems so inevitable, according to another late-night presenter. However, there is also a lot of wishful thinking, and we are just trying to hang onto hope, he continued.

If a strike occurs, it will also impact Saturday Night Live’s final three performances of the season. This would affect both the Pete Davidson-hosted episode on May 6 and the season finale, where normally departing cast members make a public farewell.

Pete Davidson appeared on "SNL" last year.

Pete Davidson appeared on “SNL” last year. SNL via YouTube

According to one SNL insider, there were doubts about the future of the iconic NBC programme during the 2007–2008 strike. “Because the programme was doing so well at the time, it was extra heartbreaking. However, it was also entirely accurate. SNL cannot be produced while writers are on strike.

It’s a really “convoluted” situation, a current cast member of SNL added. “We also need to consider our crew. I wholeheartedly support the writers and want them to have the benefits they merit and require, but I don’t want our crew to lose their jobs. Without each other, we are unable to create this art.