Late Night's Back: Leno, Huckabee get picketed by striking writers

As hundreds of would-be audience members stood quietly in line and watched, scores of out-of-work writers picketed in front of The Tonight Show studios in Burbank, Ca. today to protest the ongoing labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Jay Leno, like David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson and Conan O’Brien, was scheduled to return this evening with new episodes, but only The Tonight Show was targeted for picketing in Los Angeles.

The striking writers took great care not to vilify Leno during the march. (The late night host was, after all, among the first celebs to join the writers on the picket line, Nov. 5.) “We are protesting the production companies, not the individual hosts,” insisted John Bowman, the WGA’s negotiating committee chairman. “These hosts work for production companies that won’t strike deals with us. Jay has been very supportive of writers. He has 20 of them. His show will be worse because he doesn’t have those 20 writers working for him.” He also won’t have the most glamorous guest for his first show back: Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

While picketers waved placards that read “Huckabee: The Scab Prez?” and “Huckabee: What Would Jesus Do?” others, like Mad TV’s Guy Stevenson, tried to educate the Leno audience members waiting in line about the strike through use of a megaphone. But few, if any, paid attention to his brief, non-confrontational message. “We don’t expect anyone [from the audience] to leave the line,” Stevenson admitted to EW. “But a lot of people outside the industry think all writers are millionaires. I’m a working class guy. At least this way, they’ll get our side of the story.”

Comments (8 total) Add your comment


  • Wesley

    A win win situation. Free publicity for all.

  • LaeRenda Johnson

    This idiot Stevenson is why we are against the writers. Yeah, the companies make millions and millions, but then Stevenson insults us by saying that he’s just a working guy. I don’t know any working guys who average $200,000 a year (or much more.) He’s living in a mansion, going to Spago’s with his Hollywood buddies, and then trying to identify with real people. S crew you a-hole! Go back to work or get a job cleaning toilets for all I care. When did you people start believing that what you write had merit? The c rap that is on t.v. is phenomonly bad. Look at studio 60 from last year, or almost anything on NBC and ABC this year. Junk, junk, junk. They should pay you minimum wage and forget about you!

  • Gregg Harris

    I think it is time to recognize that Huckabee has been a successful governor longer than he was a pastor. He knows how to govern in a divided state. That will come in handy in our deeply polarized nation. He brings the heart of seasoned pastor together with the head of an effective statesman. He seems to understand what the consequences of public policy are for the people who have to live and work and sometimes even fight and die under them. I personally like that. It reminds me of both Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan who ran against their party and it was good for the Republicans that they did and that they won. It’s not about his faith anymore, its about his basic good sense and his authentic kindness. His sense of humor is evidence that the man is emotionally healthy. His critics reveal more about the emptiness of their own souls than they do about the content of his ideas and character. Iowa picked up on that fact and that is why so many turned away from Romney.

  • Shawn

    I just heard that the Union is now going after Leno. . . for what??? Actually writing (ON HIS OWN) too great monologues. . . I’m sorry, Leno has over 100 non union workers to think about. . . and apparently he can write his own stuff!!

  • pooter

    They are going after Leno because he is a member of the Guild. He could have allowed guest hosts. he doesn’t really care about the rest of his staff because unlike the writers and himself those people has to think about don’t get royalties from reruns, and he refused to pay them to continue being staffed while the talks were being waited out.

  • TheBookPolice

    Who’s “we”, LaeRenda? You and the angry, bitter mouse in your pocket? Got any evidence that this guy or any other writer is dining at “Spago’s” (it’s called “Spago”, by the way)? Do you live in California? Do you know how much a BAD house in CA costs? Do you know where this dude lives? Or are you just some anti-everyone else, “when am I getting mine?” complainer?

  • Jill

    It’s interesting to me to see most of the satire out there is either lampooning Clinon or Ron Paul. In the UK, they prefer satire concerning Ron Paul, for some strange reason.
    After crossing the writer’s picket line, it was inevitable that Huckabee would come under satircial scrutiny.

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