Dave, Jay, Conan Back Tonight
Leno will be hindered by picket lines and restrictions on scripted materials
By Michael O'Connor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 2, 2008 5:27 PM CST

(Newser) – The nation's late-night hosts return tonight after a two-month hiatus because of the writers' strike, with a decided advantage going to David Letterman, reports Reuters. He will return with his writers and top 10 lists intact after negotiating his own deal. Not so for Jay and Conan, who also may struggle getting A-list celebrities. Hillary Clinton taped a cameo for Letterman tonight, while Mike Huckabee will make a full appearance on Leno.

Letterman has long sided with the writers guild's principles and even called studio executives "cowards, cutthroats and weasels" on air. His deal also benefits Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show, which follows on CBS. The contract advantage may help Letterman wrest the late-night ratings crown from Leno after 12 years, Reuters notes.