The show must go on – until a strike is officially called. [UPDATE — No strike!]
That was the word from inside TV’s late night talk shows and series, which continued to operate, business as usual, even as the possibility of a work stoppage on May 2 loomed large.
That has meant continuing to book guests, produce taped packages and plan for series road trips – all of which might not happen should the Writers Guild negotiating committee call for a strike.
“We’ll see what happens and take it from there,” said “The Late Late Show with James Corden” executive producer Ben Winston. ” We support the writers, we hope the strike doesn’t happen, because we want to carry on working and making a show. It’s concern for us. I think any decision on what we do, we’ll wait and hope it doesn’t happen and hope that everything works out.”
Upcoming events on “The Late Late Show” plate include a week-long music residency for Harry Styles, who will perform a song a night on the show from May 15 to May 18. “The Late Late Show” is also planning a trip to the United Kingdom to produce three episodes in June.
Planning on all of that is ongoing – but a strike would force postponement for all of that.
Elsewhere, production was presumably underway on Monday for this week’s new episode of “Saturday Night Live,” featuring guest host Chris Pine and musical guest LCD Soundsystem. That episode will air live on May 6, while Melissa McCarthy and HAIM are set for May 13, and Dwayne Johnson is the host, with Katy Perry the musical guest, on the Season 42 finale set for May 20.
If the late night talk shows go dark, publicists may find themselves scrambling this week to book their clients on morning news and chat shows. A strike will limit the ability of networks to promote their May season finales and June launches, and will also hit the film studios just as they aim to tub-thump their summer blockbusters.
Guests scheduled for NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” this week include Chris Rock, Andy Cohen, Kaley Cuoco, Horatio Sanz, Pine, Paul Giamatti and Gisele Bundchen.
NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” has Rachel Maddow, Chris Pratt, Beth Behrs, Wanda Sykes, Chris Gethard, Jason Sudeikis and Andrea Martin on tap.
At CBS, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” guests this week include Amy Schumer, Gabourey Sidibe, Jim Parsons, Jeff Garlin, Paul Scheer, Charles Barkley, Debra Winger, Richard Gere and Maria Bamford.
Corden’s guests this week include Liev Schreiber, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Taylor Schilling, Ryan Adams, Jennifer Lopez, Terry Crews, Justin Theroux and Green Day.
Over at ABC, on Tuesday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” host Kimmel revealed on Monday that he and wife Molly had welcomed their second child together, William “Billy” Kimmel, on April 21, and that Billy had successful open heart surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Should there not be a strike, Kimmel still plans to take the rest of the week off, with Will Arnett, Anthony Anderson, Kristen Bell and David Spade filling in as hosts this week. The network currently plans to unveil the mysterious new host of “The Gong Show,” a British comedian named Tommy Maitland (believed to really be Mike Myers in prosthetics) on Tuesday.
At Comedy Central, a strike would put a quick crimp in “The President Show,” which just premiered last week but is on a quick turnaround to comment on current events. It would also silence “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” whose guests this week include W. Kamau Bell, Sanaa Lathan and Prof. Robert Sapolsky.
Elsewhere, TBS’ “Conan” has Kristen Chenoweth, Jonathan Banks, Kurt Russell, Ron Funches, Alec Baldwin and Al Madrigal the rest of the week. Quipped host Conan O’Brien on Monday’s show: “As you may have heard, all of the television writers including ours, might go on strike at midnight tonight. So there’s a chance tomorrow my writers will spend all day dressed like slobs and downloading porn– and that’s if there’s not a strike.”
TBS’ “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” is actually taking a week off, and instead repeating this Saturday’s “Not the White House Correspondents Dinner” special on Wednesday. At HBO, “Last Week Tonight” was pre-empted this past weekend; now it remains to be seen whether it will be back this Sunday.