The late-night television landscape is wasting no time returning to normal now that the WGA strike is over, though they may not look completely normal when they return. But they are returning, and soon!
In a combined announcement as part of their Strike Force Five podcast, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers announced that all four of their shows would be returning with new episodes starting this Monday, October 2. John Oliver will beat them by a day, with his Last Week Tonight coming back Sunday on HBO.
Comedy Central announced that The Daily Show will return on October 16, though there is still no permanent host following Trevor Noah’s retirement. The Late Late Show has not yet announced its plans. It has been in reruns since James Corden stepped away from the show and throughout the strike.
The “Strike Force Five” comedians made their announcement through the social media for the shared podcast which they first created as the WGA strike was continuing with no clear end in sight. The podcast was developed as a way for them to raise proceeds to pay their show’s production teams.
As part of their announcement, the quintet effectively ended the podcast, which had been scheduled to run for 12 episodes, though they did promise a “few more” installments. In the post, they wrote that with “their mission complete,” they would be returning to their respective shows.
“Of course, in a greater sense, the Strike Force 5 will never end, because Strike Force 5 is not a place, Strike Force 5 is not a people, Strike Force 5 is barely a podcast… nay, Strike Force 5 is an idea, an idea that five men could talk on top of each other for 12 episodes, and maybe somebody would listen,” their statement read. “As we say goodbye, we would like to thank all those somebodies. Truly, you were the heroes. We were mostly the heroes, but you were there, too.”
They went on to thank their teams and families, and offer a humorous apology to Conan O’Brien because he’d “agreed to do the pod, but Stephen forgot to send him any possible dates, and then the strike ended.”
They did promise there were still a few more episodes to go on their joint venture, “unless Ryan Reynolds cuts off the cash.” The group has completed eight of their planned 12 episodes; it’s unclear how many more they plan to have.
Other shows that are reportedly eying a comeback in October include Saturday Night Live, and several daytime talk shows like the beleaguered Drew Barrymore Show, The Talk, and The Jennifer Hudson Show. Bill Maher’s Real Time is set to return this Friday.
While many of these shows are able to return to production, they may still look quite different. Due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, actors are unable to talk about or promote their works, so many of them will not be able to appear on any of the shows.
As for SNL, while its cast is under a different contract that isn’t impacted by the SAG-AFTRA strike, they would suffer the same challenges in not being able to book actors. There are still other options for hosts, so that’s not a huge issue.
One possible wrinkle would be if any of the cast chooses not to perform in solidarity with the actors strike. No official announcements about the show’s return have been made.