Letterman's got a lot of love

David Letterman, who hosts the Late Show with David Letterman, has offered to pay his staff through the rest of the year despite the ongoing writer's strike.

With the writer's strike 10 days in, many of those employed by talk shows and other programs are beginning to feel the financial effects of the silent set, but some folks have been spared the impact (at least for now).

David Letterman, who hosts the The Late Show with David Letterman on CBS, has offered to pay his staff through the rest of the year. According to Deadline Hollywood Daily, the money will come directly from Letterman himself. His production company, Worldwide Pants, also owns The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and the employees of that show will also be provided for throughout the remainder of 2007.

Rumors swirled just as the strike began that John Stewart would be paying the writers of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report out of pocket, but, as the updated article illustrates, this information turned out to be inaccurate. It's possible Stewart's altruistic act was forbidden by Viacom, but it's just as likely that some blogger in the nether-regions of the internet reported fantasy as fact and watched as the fake story catapulted around the net until it landed on the Huffington Post.

Though a source told Deadline Hollywood Daily that, "Dave's not doing this to get good press, which is why it hasn't been reported for almost two days." It seems that had Letterman announced his intentions earlier and with greater fanfare it might have encouraged others to follow suit. Then again, if he had made it into a big proclamation it would have likely been dismissed as a PR stunt and not the heartfelt action that it appears to be. That response seems far more certain than the likelihood that other stars would jump on the bandwagon and pay their staffs' wages.

So why is it that David Letterman, and only David Letterman, has offered to take care of his team as the hard times begin to set in? Are all of the employees at The Daily Show going without pay or are the writers the only ones affected? I'm still uncertain, but if everyone else is getting paid then I suppose it's only the striking writers left out in the cold (though I wonder what the operator for camera 3 is doing right now).

Since The Late Show is owned by Worldwide Pants and licensed by CBS it does put that program in a unique category which might explain why Letterman is now having to pay everyone out of pocket (though again, I don't see why Worldwide Pants isn't still writing the checks).

Though there has been some coverage of the strike in the news, it remains unclear who's feeling the impact of the strike. Obviously the writers are immediately effected and the actors will soon follow, but what about the thousands of workers who are barely getting by setting up lights and serving coffee?

Hopefully a settlement will be reached before too much time passes and the writers will be able to share in the profits from online and DVD distribution, but if things aren't resolved quickly I have a feeling the amount of people affected by the strike will be much wider than most have realized.
About the author

    Josh Wolf first became interested in the power of the press after writing and distributing a screed against his high school's new dress code. Within a short time, the new dress code was abandoned, and ever since then he's been getting his hands dirty deconstructing the media every step of the way. Wolf recently became the longest-incarcerated journalist for contempt of court in U.S. history after he spent 226 days in federal prison for his refusal to cooperate. In Media sphere, Josh shares his daily insights on the developing information landscape and examines how various corporate and governmental actions effect the free press both in the United States and abroad.

     

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