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“Last Call with Carson Daly” is first latenighter to go back

CarsondalyThis week, NBC’s “Last Call with Carson Daly” has become the first major network latenight skein to return to production since the strike began on Nov. 5.

(My mistake below: Last night’s seg was a repeat from September. New episodes set to air next week.)

Without passing judgment on the decision made by Daly and others behind “Last Call,” you can’t help but note the irony that Daly’s guest in his second seg back tonight (airing 1:35 a.m. Wednesday) is Frank Caliendo, who just launched his own latenight sketch show on TBS, “Frank TV.” And the now-striking showrunner of “Frank TV” is, as most readers of this blog probably know, is John Bowman, head of WGA West’s negotiating committee.

Naturally, the WGA is taking a dim view of the decision to hit the reboot on “Last Call” (a bit of strike news that we should duly note was first reported in Tuesday’s edition of THR). Sources close to the show said the decision was motivated in part by Daly’s concern for his production staff.

“We’re disappointed at Carson Daly’s decision to return to work,” WGA said in a statement issued late Tuesday. “Mr. Daly is not a writer and not a member of the WGA, unlike other late-night hosts Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, and Jimmy Kimmel, who have all resisted network pressure and honored our writers’ picket lines. We’re especially appalled at Mr. Daly’s call for non-Guild writers to provide him with jokes. We hope he’ll change his mind and follow the lead of the other late-night hosts.”

An NBC rep for the show said the Peacock was declining “out of respect for the current agreement between the AMPTP and the WGA for a press blackout period” while the sides are at the negotiating table.

–Cynthia Littleton

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