Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien Returning to TV in 2008

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After a two-month hiatus, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien will return to TV January 2—despite the on-going writers’ strike.

“Unfortunately, now with the New Year upon us, I am left with a difficult decision,†O’Brien said in a statement Monday, released through NBC, about his show Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

“Either go back to work and keep my staff employed, or stay dark, and allow 80 people, many of whom have worked for me for 14 years, to lose their jobs,†O’Brien’s statement read. “An unwritten version of Late Night, though not desirable, is possible— and no one has to be fired.â€

Echoed Leno in his own NBC statement, “I was, like most people, hoping for a quick resolution when this began. … I feel it’s my responsibility to get my 100 non-writing staff, which was laid off, back to work.â€

O’Brien and Leno have been giving their staffers, who have been laid off, some financial compensation. Late-night talk shows, because of their topicality, are among those shows most affected by a writing strike.

In a conference call Monday morning, NBC late-night executive producer Rick Ludwin said Leno and O’Brien were “incredibly anxious to get back on the air. Obviously, they would much prefer to be back on the air with their writers. Those circumstances are not those we’re faced with right now.†—Nicholas White

 
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I think its the right thing to do. There are alot of people besides writers who are affected by this.

 
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