US late-night shows could return as soon as next week post-strike

US late-night talk shows could be returning to screens as soon as next week as the Hollywood writers’ strike reaches its end.

This morning (September 25) the WGA has shared that it has reached a tentative agreement to end the ongoing strikes that began in May after four consecutive days of negotiations with the the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

The WGA West wrote on X: “The WGA and AMPTP have reached a tentative agreement. This was made possible by the enduring solidarity of WGA members and extraordinary support of our union siblings who stood with us for over 146 days. More details coming after contract language is finalized.”

Following the news, insiders have told Variety that plans are already in place to bring back shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon as soon as possible, with potential returns as soon as next weekend (October 2).

Striking Writers Guild of America (WGA) members on September 22. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

“We want to come back ASAP,” one insider on a late-night show said, with another adding: “I think everybody’s leaning forward, like they’re ready to go…. I would look for them to return on October 2 or October 9. I think that they are going to be very motivated to get their crews working again.”

A source added: “I think that the calculation for all these shows is how quickly you can get your crew back to work. There’s probably some conversations to be had with labour relations. We’re so close to the finish line that no one wants to step on a guild landmine. But from a production standpoint, I think you could turn it around pretty quickly.”

Another staff member said: “We’ve been keeping the wheels somewhat in motion. So, it’s just sort of dusting off the studio, and getting it back up again… it’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. 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.”

Complete details of the WGA’s tentative agreement haven’t been released at the time of publishing as the WGA and AMPTP are currently working on finalising a contract. The parties reached the deal Sunday (September 24) after coming to an agreement over the use of AI, writing room staffing levels and other concerns.

“We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership,” the WGA’s negotiating committee wrote to striking members in an email obtained by Variety.

“What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language. And though we are eager to share the details of what has been achieved with you, we cannot do that until the last “i” is dotted. To do so would complicate our ability to finish the job. So, as you have been patient with us before, we ask you to be patient again – one last time,” the WGA negotiating committee told its members.

Now that a deal is being finalised with the WGA, the AMPTP can continue negotiations with SAG-AFTRA to bring an end to the ongoing actors strike, which began in July. The Hollywood actors union joined the WGA in striking on July 13, after negotiations broke down with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), who represent major studios like NetflixDisneyAppleAmazon, Warner Bros. and others.

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