In what could be a major move in ending the 2-month old walk-out of writers, David Letterman, famed late night talk show host and heir-apparent to the crown worn by the late Johnny Carson for over 30 years, has entered negotiations with the WGA that could allow writers to return to work on a network by network and studio by studio basis. Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” was quick to follow Letterman’s lead.
This new tactic could allow the WGA to totally by-pass the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), an alliance of corporate entertainment businesses such as the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) General Electric (which owns NBC Universal), News Corporation, Sony, Time Warner, The Walt Disney Company and Viacom (the parent company of CBS/Paramount).
If the WGA is successful with this latest strategy of individual bargaining, it would be the first time it has worked since the Alliance was formed 25 years ago.
Letterman’s company, Worldwide Pants, is one of the largest independent production companies in the world and it is ready and willing to negotiate with the WGA.
“Since the beginning of the strike, we have expressed our willingness to sign an interim agreement with the Guild consistent with its positions in this dispute,” WorldWide Pants chief executive Rob Burnett said in a statement.
Could this turn out to be the first ray of sunshine in what was turning out to be a dark and dreary TV and movie season? If so, David Letterman will not only have his place in TV history as an all important entertainer, but one who may have also single-handedly broken the grip that the AMPTP has had on the industry for the last quarter century.