Late-Night Hosts at a Loss for Words

Guild rules prevent headliners from writing monologues, sketches
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2007 12:38 PM CST
The writers strike will put a particularly heavy burden on the "The Daily Show" and its spin-off, "The Colbert Report." These shows, which return on Jan. 7, have a greater dependence on scripted material,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The late-night talk shows will be back next week, but they’ll be virtually unrecognizable, the Wall Street Journal reports. Broad, vague Writers Guild rules prohibit the hosts, many of whom belong to the striking union, from providing their shows with “writing services.” That means no scripted monologues, sketches, or fictional characters.

The shows, which will back the writers, will be short on scripts and Top 10 lists and heavy on extended chit-chat, YouTube clips, and musical acts. With the Screen Actors Guild's contract up in the spring, many actors have balked at crossing picket lines. "I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but we'll be able to do the shows," says the executive producer of the "Tonight Show."