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Late-night shows still in reruns

November 15, 2007 |  5:41 pm

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The late-nights lights are still out over at NBC Studios in Burbank.

But that hasn't stopped executives with the peacock network from hoping that they might be able to coax their big guns, including Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien, to return to their shows in the coming weeks. Last week, the executive producer of "The Tonight Show," Debbie Vickers, said that several options were being explored, including finding a fill-in host for their 11:35 p.m. show.  But Vickers said her preference would be to have Leno back in the driver's seat.

NBC has been airing repeats of "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,"  "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and "Last Call With Carson Daly" since members of the Writers Guild of America went on strike Nov. 5.

Separately last week, NBC sent notices to some employees, including the nonwriting staffs of the late-night shows, telling them that they could be laid off as soon as Friday unless production resumed on their programs. The move was seen by some as a tactic to try to pressure the hosts to cross the picket lines to return to work.  But that hasn't happened.

During the last major Hollywood work stoppage in 1988, which dragged on for five months, NBC's late-night host, Johnny Carson, eventually returned to his show.  This time around, none of the comedians have broken ranks. Late-night hosts at the networks, including ABC and CBS, have stopped working in solidarity with the writers.

This afternoon, an NBC spokeswoman confirmed that NBC had extended the deadline and that workers of the three NBC late-night shows would not be let go this week.  "The nonwriting staffs of these shows will continue to receive their full salaries for at least two more weeks," a network spokeswoman said. And what happens if the shows are not back into production by Nov. 30?

"It will be reviewed at that time," the spokewoman said.

More news on the strike

--Meg James

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