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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

Last week I mused:

The same questions (that apply to Jay Leno, Conan, et al) even more so, surround The Daily Show and Colbert Report. I love both shows to death, but not to the point of scabbing content. Stewart and Colbert are WGA writers. Award-winning to boot. As with Leno and O'Brien, they should not be able to write/perform their own material or they too will have ignored the protecting the jobs of writers intent. They should not be able to decide on or or creating the captions for graphics, stills or video clips. Nor should anyone else, including film/video editors. The hosts must take themselves out of the content decision-making process altogether. That's the job of WGA writer. No exceptions.

But I certainly needed to see how Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert played out before I threw them under the bus for throwing their brethren writers under the bus. After all, their genius could circumvent any WGA violation. Right?

I've since had a bunch of mail pertaining to the return of Stewart and Colbert to the airwaves, and they tend to fall into one of three categories:

From the non-political "public" (i.e. non-WGA writers), it was "finally, entertainment is back.

From the political public, "their voices are needed to offset right wing noise machine."

From the WGA writer -- "We love those lovable scabs, but a scab is a scab."

As a WGA, non-political and non-political writer, I find all three reactions to not only have validity -- they're all true.

That's the problem. We need S&C's intelligent, cut through the bull, make a point through satire, or make no point at all but it's still funny, kind of Daily Show, Colbert Report on the air.

But there's no question they've "crossed the line."

Both Stewart and Colbert have made it clear that they support the writer and the WGA, but their support of the writer is being broadcasted over the WGA-struck air while they're contributing to WGA signators content the WGA says they should not because that DOESN'T SUPPORT THE WRITER. Along with Leno, Kimmel and Daly, S&C cry personal contracts and/or the jobs/livelihood of non-writers.


If a strike was only about those on strike, strikes would never work. It's not just about inflicting discomfort on "management" and their advertisers, it's about affecting everyone. In this case, the viewers, the shows' office staffs, "behind the camera" crews, the caterers, the small and large businesses in the area who cater to those workers, et al, et al, et al.

That's how the pressure mounts on the two sides to sit down with each other and work things out.

What Stewart, Colbert and friends are doing is alleviating the necessity for AMPTP (meaning the producers, etc). to get back at the table. Why should they? Their shows and stars are coming back and so are their viewers. Without the writers, pension, health benefits and daily fresh fruit they're NOT paying for now, they're actually able to do these shows even cheaper.

Obviously, it's a Left-winded argument, but so really is the support of labor. And there's no question that trying to keep the line going, is painful, but it shouldn't be all that complex to the perceptive minds of Stewart and Colbert..

I mean if the Golden Globes figured it out, how confusing could it be?

WGA Member and award-winning TV writer, Steve Young, is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" ( doesn't expect to be hired on The Tonight Show, Daily Show or Colbert Report staffs...even after the strike.

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Albion Monitor   January 10, 2008   (

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