Tonights the night. Late night talk shows, after two months off the hair, are returning – with Dave, Conan, Leno, Kimmel and that Scottish guy all back. But, as we’ve all heard, only Dave and Craig Ferguson, through an interim deal between WGA and Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, which owns both shows. The rest of the shows (including Colbert & Stewart, both back next week), all go writer-less.
So, far, fears that the writerless shows might be scraping for guests appear warranted (the Screen Actor’s Guild is urging celebs to go see Dave. In the next few days, Letterman has Robin Williams, Bill Maher, Ellen Page, Donald Trump, Lupe Fiasco… Even Hillary Clinton will appear via satellite. Leno has Mike Huckabee, whose currently one of my ten least favourite people on the planet. Conan has Bob Saget.
Most of these shows seem pretty damaged by the strike thus far, and I’ll be curious to see if (and, likely, by how much) Letterman overtakes Leno’s throne. Leno is averaging 4.4 million viewers this season, losing a quarter of his audience from last season. Before the strike, his audience was off 10 percent, according to Nielsen Media Research. Letterman’s average of 3.6 million viewers is 15 percent off last season. Before the strike, his viewership was down 9 percent.
CNN got a sneak peek of Letterman, including this image:
Thats a fully bearded Letterman with Robin Williams. Apparently – and spoiler alert here – Letterman opens by saying: “I know what you’re thinking,” Letterman said of his mostly white beard. “You think Dave looks like a cattle-drive cook.” Letterman’s Top 10 list was delivered by striking writers, offering their strike demands. They included “Complementary tote bag with next insulting contract offer” and “Hazard pay for breaking up fights on ‘The View.’ “
Though I can already feel my anxiety in watching Williams (lets count how many accents he does!), I’ll
watch Letterman (though poke over to Leno just to see how they try and pull off. And while I was already hands-down a Letterman fan, but I’ll enjoy seeing some of Leno’s 4.4 million devotees come over to my side as well.