Good old reruns while writers are on strike

Published 6:25 am Wednesday, August 2, 2023

By Bonnie Brown

For those of us who like to tune in to the late-night shows, it has been an interesting lineup of late given that the writers (Writers Guild of America, WGA) have been on strike since May 2.  

A few nights ago, after watching the 10 o’clock news, or what husband Tom refers to as the crime report, we tuned in to watch The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  

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Much to our surprise, Jimmy was calling out to the audience seat numbers to identify who would be the recipient of that evening’s 12 Days of Christmas Sweaters segment.  What?  Christmas sweaters in July?  We quickly realized that we weren’t behind on our holiday schedule but had tuned in to a re-run program.  

It seems that these late-night TV talk show hosts are totally dependent on others to write their monologues and other parts of the program while the host just engages with their guest.  And the interview visit with the celebrity guest is now down to maybe a five- minute conversation about whatever movie or book the guest is hawking.  

Remember Johnny Carson would have a guest and add one or two other guests for more in-depth discussions?  It allowed the audience to get to know more about the guests and Johnny Carson would be the gracious host and let them shine while he would sometimes quietly guide the conversations and not try to be the star of the moment unlike today’s talk show hosts who seem to try to out-do their guests.  

I have no idea what the writers’ salaries might be, but I did read that there are a few food banks and restaurants in the Los Angeles area who are providing these folks with food.  

Drew Carey, the Price is Right game show host, has arranged for any WGA member who shows their union card at Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank and Swingers Diner on Beverly, near Fairfax, to get their meal free courtesy of Carey for the duration of the strike. 

Clearly, the talk show hosts make a fortune.  Celebrity Net Worth reports that Fallon takes home $16 million per year for his hosting duties.  Nice payday.  I doubt that he would need to avail himself of a food bank even if the strike continues.  And it looks as if it might since the actors have now decided to strike.  

So where does this leave us, the viewers, as we have anticipated new seasons of our favorite TV programs to debut in September.  Well, looks like more reruns.  But our choice will be the way-back reruns of programs such as Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, Mash, The Golden Girls to name a few.  Fortunately, now that we have hundreds of TV stations from which to choose, we will not have to wait for the strike to be over to enjoy some fine TV entertainment.  

Given that we are of a certain age many of the plots of these reruns are once again new to us since we can’t remember them from so many years/decades ago.  So do not be dismayed, your TV time will still be enjoyable if you can only figure out how to use the remote.  

Unfortunately, I am remote control challenged but I am pleased that I can ask my human remote control (aka Tom) to tune in my preferred program.  

Roku here we come!  

Write to Bonnie Brown at