EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that David Letterman and his producers yesterday morning announced to his Late Show staff that they will be paid through the end of the year even though the show isn’t on the air during the writers strike. “Dave’s not doing this to get good press, which is why it hasn’t been reported for almost two days,” a source tells me. “This is really significant because, as opposed to all of the other shows, this money comes out of Dave’s own pocket.” When Late Show stopped making new episodes last week, CBS ceased paying Letterman’s production company on November 5th. And, in case you were wondering, Dave owns Late Show while Jay does not own The Tonight Show as Johnny Carson did. (FYI, earlier this month, a news report claimed Jon Stewart had made a similar offer to pay his staff through the holidays, but then his rep said it was untrue.)
Yes, Worldwide Pants employees are getting paid. However, most of the technical crew for the Late Show and Late Late Show are CBS employees, some of which are non-staff but per diem, even though they work on regular basis. These employees (at least in Los Angeles) have been on the street since day 1 of the strike. CBS does not want to pay them. They’re like the bastard child nobody wants to claim.
Just a reminder that striking Late Show writers Eric Stangel, Justin Stangel, Bill Scheft, Steve Young, Matt Roberts, Tom Ruprecht, Jeremy Weiner, Lee Ellenberg, Joe Grossman and Bob Borden have begun a blog about the writers walkout. (Here’s an LA Weekly column I wrote about Letterman, Dave The Brave.)