Updated Oct 2, 2023 - Economy

Late-night TV is officially back

Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, John Oliver, Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers (left to right) have announced the return of their respective late-night shows after the Hollywood writers strike ended. Photos: CBS Photo Archive, NBC, Bravo, ABC via Getty Images

Late-night shows are set to make their post-Hollywood writers strike return Monday night, but will they have any jokes about it?

Why it matters: The writers of America's beloved late-night shows will return to work after months away, as the actors strike is ongoing.

  • CBS' Stephen Colbert, NBC's Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel announced that their late-night shows will return Monday, they announced last week on Instagram.
  • John Oliver's HBO late-night show returned to premium cable Sunday. He celebrated the strikers and the writers guild's victory, per AP, telling viewers: "Our industry has seen its workers severely squeezed in recent years," adding that the writers' win "took a lot of sacrifices from a lot of people to achieve that."
  • Bill Maher's HBO show also returned to air on Friday.

Catch up quick: Leaders of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) voted to officially end the Hollywood writers' strike last Wednesday at 12:01am PT after 148 days of negotiations, allowing over 11,500 writers to return to work.

  • In a letter to WGA members sent Tuesday, WGA leadership confirmed that its negotiating committee and the leadership bodies governing its east and west divisions had all voted unanimously to approve the agreement, Axios' senior media reporter Sara Fischer reports.

Colbert, Fallon, Meyers, Kimmel and Oliver had hosted their own combined Spotify podcast beginning in August, "Strike Force Five," to support their respective writers during the strike.

  • All proceeds from the podcast have been supporting their staffs, who were out of work as a result of the strike.

Between the lines: Late-night and daytime talk shows were early to return because while those programs require writers, they don't need actors.

  • Scripted series likely won't return until the ongoing actors strike, which began in mid-July, is resolved.

The big picture: The pivot to streaming and digital has taken a toll on late-night shows. Monologues can easily be clipped and watched online, and viewership is down.

What to watch: The combination of the weeks-long writers strike and the COVID pandemic could create permanent changes for late-night TV.

  • Networks could opt to make shows air less frequently, appearing a few days per week instead of all five.
  • Late-night hosts are paid well and costly at a time when all the big networks and entertainment companies are trying to pull back.

Go deeper: Writers strike officially over, ending second-longest walkout in WGA history

Editor's note: This story was updated with new information on the shows' planned return dates.

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