WGA wags finger at Leno

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When late-night talk shows returned to the air on Wednesday, the big question was who would deliver the goods. David Letterman of Late Show with David Letterman seemed poised to make strides to take over the late-night crown, because he had a huge advantage in returning to the airwaves: He made a deal with the Writers Guild of America.

Under the agreement, Dave's writers were allowed to return to work, because Worldwide Pants, the production company that owns the show as well as The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, had made an independent deal with the WGA that met the guild's terms.

Even with full support from a writing staff, Leno--who operated without writers--once again beat Letterman in ratings. However, all was not kosher with the WGA. The guild has told Leno that he broke the rules of the strike.

On his Wednesday show, Leno admitted to prewriting his monologue without the help of any other writers. Leno also performed another self-written monologue last night, according to Bloomberg.

NBC says that Leno had permission from the WGA to write his own material, but the guild says otherwise. As a WGA member, Leno isn't allowed to prewrite any material; an improvised monologue would be allowed, but any advance writing is considered strike-breaking.

It's unclear whether or not Leno will face disciplinary action from the guild for his monologues, since Leno has been a very adamant supporter of the writers and the WGA thinks the rift may be an attempt by NBC to cause some infighting and distract attention away from the studios-versus-guild war. One thing is for sure though--Leno is in a horrible position, caught between his guild and his employer.

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