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AWESTRUCK: The Hollywood writer’s strike finished its first full day yesterday with a clearer picture of who’ll be taking their DVD collection to the used books and movies store and putting autographed shooting scripts on eBay. As predicted, the late night talk shows are the first to be deprived of new material, and according to a story on Nikki Finke’s L.A. Weekly blog, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brian and Jimmy Kimmel went into repeats starting last night. According to Finke, the movie industry will be hit hard by this, as one of their most vital publicity forums is taken off the air for the foreseeable future.
The Jon Stewart Show and The Colbert Report will stay on the air for at least two weeks, after it was announced first that Stewart was paying their writers out of his own pocket, followed by a correction that the writers’ wages would be coming from Busboy, Stewart’s production company. (The distinction is slight, but apparently important.) Stewart is “hoping that it wraps up amicably and quickly, and over the course of that time he wants to look out for his employees," a rep for the comedian told Conde Nast Portfolio’s web site.
Caught in the crossfire are writer/actors such as Tina Fey of 30 Rock, who was walking the picket line outside the Manhattan landmark that gave her show its name, and said that NBC had told her that she was contractually obligated to appear as an actor in the unfinished 10th episode of the sitcom’s new season. The set of The Office was apparently virtually shut down as showrunner Greg Daniels walked the picket line, and star Steve Carell, a member of the Writer’s Guild, had stated that he wouldn’t cross the picket line, according to TV Week.
The Office is uniquely troubled by the strike with onscreen talent such as Mindy Kaling, Paul Lieberstein and B.J. Novak doubling as writers. Novak, according to Variety, is also expected to appear onscreen, at the risk of being fined by the WGA, though NBC would likely fight the fines if he does. The only show untroubled by the strike is apparently Live With Regis and Kelly, which host Regis Philbin happily noted yesterday morning, has no writers, “and it shows.”
REMEMBERED: It’s Remembrance Day this Sunday, and History Television is providing us with its annual week’s worth of programming in commemoration of the day. Wednesday night sees the world broadcast premiere of Last Soldier, an hour-long portrait of John Babcock, who was a “boy soldier” during World War One, and is today the last surviving Canadian veteran of the war. Thursday night features Bloody Normandy and Bloody Victory, which follows Canadian veterans as they return to the battlefields of western Europe, but the best of the week’s shows is probably Vimy Underground, premiering tonight at 8 p.m., which sends a team of archaeologists, a claustrophobic graphologist and the son of a soldier who died in World War One into a cave where Canadian soldiers waited to go into battle and carved their own memorials into the chalk walls. It’s a well-researched, even touching look at a facet of the war that was, literally, buried for decades.