Letterman, Ferguson Returning with Writers

ON

Even though they are the last to announce their return, it looks like Letterman and Ferguson will have the last laugh.

An interim agreement with the Writers Guild of America will allow the full writing staffs for “Late Show with David Letterman” as well as “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” to return to work next Wednesday, even as the Hollywood writers strike continues to shutter much TV and movie production. It could prove to be a huge advantage for both these CBS late-night shows, which are produced by the Letterman-owned Worldwide Pants.

“I am grateful to the WGA for granting us this agreement,” Letterman said in a statement Friday. “This is not a solution to the strike, which unfortunately continues to disrupt the lives of thousands. But I hope it will be seen as a step in the right direction.”

NBC’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” as well as ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” had already announced they would resume Wednesday without benefit of their writing teams.

Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert” planned to return writer-less on Monday, Jan. 7.

Resisting such an arrangement, Rob Burnett, president and CEO of Worldwide Pants, had actively sought an interim deal. The guild has been discussing agreements with several small independent producers since talks between producers and the union broke down Dec. 7.

Guild leaders said in a letter to membership Friday that Worldwide Pants accepted “the very same proposals that the guild was prepared to present to the media conglomerates when they walked out of negotiations on December 7.”

“We had no problems with the guild’s demands,” Burnett said.